The two woodcuts titled Imagines constellationum Australium [30.1 x 37.1cm] and Imagines constellationum Borealis [27.5 x 37.3cm.], Karrow 41/3a and 41/3b, c.f. Shirley BL T.PTOL-8a, Adams P2207 (Clare & Pembroke the latter lacking one map.)
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Lot Essay

The charts appeared in 1541 and 1551 Basel editions of Ptolemy’s collected works published by Heinrichus Petri ; they were first published separately in 1532. Stars are represented by dots, with particularly bright ones shown as a six-pointed star. Interestingly, Honter shifted the longitude 30 degrees from the correct position for the year 1532, possibly to reflect an earlier epoch (Friedman Herlihy).
Earlier printed examples, like Albrecht Durer’s pair of charts printed in 1515, showed the constellations from the outside. Honter’s works were the first printed charts to adopt a geocentric perspective. Although Honter, like Durer, used the classical astronomical work of Ptolemy, the ‘Almagest’, as a basis, Honter chose to dress the human constellations in contemporary garments, initiating a tradition of the constellations being dressed appropriately to the region and period of the chartmaker.

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