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Folio Society Published Works Number 2688

Raw, Stephen - The Hereford World Map: Mappa Mundi Limited Edition

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Raw, Stephen - The Hereford World Map: Mappa Mundi Limited Edition (Published in by The Folio Society in 2012. The Hereford World Map, made in around 1300, is recognised by UNESCO as an exceptionally important cultural artefact: the medieval world in one iconic object. Now it is available for you to own in a new reproduction from The Folio Society, limited to 1,000 numbered copies. Printed in 4 colours plus metallic gold, with light-fast ink, on Neobond – a specialist material with exceptional resemblance to vellum. Mounted on a canvas backing woven in England, specially commissioned for this publication. Supported by two battens cut from English oak with a brass D-ring for hanging. Labelled on the reverse with a hand-numbered limitation panel. Map dimensions: 56" x 47¼". Presented in a large wooden map box (51" x 5½"). Covered with burgundy cloth and lined with fabric. Finished with three brass hinges and two clasps. Blocked in gold with calligraphy by Stephen Raw. Accompanied by two commentary volumes. Introduction by P. D. A. Harvey. Bound in buckram, blocked in gold foil with Merida endpapers and ribbon marker. 112 pages with illustrations throughout. 11" x 8½". Commentary by Scott D. Westrem. Bound in buckram, blocked in gold foil with Merida endpapers and 2 ribbon markers. 536 pages with 16 pages of colour and black & white illustrations. 11" x 8½". The Hereford World Map was created by a group of gifted craftsmen and artists. Detailed analysis of the techniques used reveal the hand of a professional scribe (writing both in Anglo-Norman and Latin), at least one artist who drew outlines, another to outline in ink and add colour, and possibly others who drew rivers, mountain ranges and the decorative foliage border. Finally, a professional limner added display lettering in gold in a beautiful Lombardic script. The map was created from a single calf skin of exceptional size and quality, specially treated to preserve its luminous finish. From this splendid base to the carved oak triptych in which the map was displayed, everything about its production suggests an exacting, expensive process that took a year or more to conclude. Other medieval mappae mundi have survived – but none is so large, detailed or elaborately decorated as this. It is quite simply the finest and largest in existence. The map was originally displayed in a large wooden triptych painted with the Virgin Mary on one wing and the Angel Gabriel on the other. It may have been intended as an altarpiece, an aid to preaching or teaching, or both. Certainly the map was not intended to be used as we use maps today. Despite a remarkable wealth of geographical detail, this was not an aid to navigating Europe, or even the Holy Land. At the top of the map’s border, Christ sits in judgement over all of God’s creation, while the damned and the saved are divided beneath him and Mary prays for those who have sought her intercession. Eden sits just below, while Jerusalem is at the very centre. The legendary cities of Troy and Carthage are marked, as well as the more familiar Venice and Durham. The Minotaur’s labyrinth in Crete is shown along with geographical and biblical details like the Nile Delta and the route taken by the Israelites in the desert. Curious human tribes and mythical beasts roam the earth, particularly around its fringes. This, then, is a spiritual and historical map, which conveys the teachings of the Bible and depicts the wonders of history and legend. Cosmological, ethnographical, geographical, historical, theological and zoological information all come together in a single composition, crowned by a religious scene intended to lead the viewer’s thoughts to God. This reveals a heroic ambition on the part of the map-makers – to create an encyclopaedia and meditative aid in one beautiful object. For the observer today, it is a fascinating visual narrative in which every detail tells a story. The Hereford World Map has suffered over the years. Over seven hundred years of atmospheric corrosion have reduced its overall colouration to a murky brown. The blue pigment of rivers has flaked away, the green of the oceans darkened, while dirt has smudged and obscured the script and tarnished the gilding. To create this restored reproduction, The Folio Society has used digital technology to peel away the years and reveal, as much as possible, the glory of the medieval original. In it, the background vellum has been cleaned, lettering and drawings strengthened and, most strikingly, the original gilding and spectacular colouring of rivers and oceans have been restored. A careful analysis of pigments, comparison with other medieval maps and the expertise of consultants from the British Library and the Bodleian Library have all been employed to inform the reproduction. To prevent more damage occurring in the future, special light-fast inks have been used. This is by no means an attempt to recreate the original in every particular – some detail is lost for ever – but it is the most authentic version possible. The trustees of Hereford Cathedral have placed the Folio Society limited edition on permanent display beside the original. This will permit generations of future visitors to examine the map in detail and gain an appreciation of its former glory. )

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