Rare Swedish Atlas in a Flag Binding

By KLINT, Gustav af, 1820 

Sveriges Sjöatlas Hans Majt. Konungen egnas Sweriges Sjö-Atlas, Underdanigst af Klint Contre Admiral.

  • Author: KLINT, Gustav af
  • Publication place: Skockholm
  • Publication date: c1820
  • Physical description: Two volumes, Imperial Folio (710 by 560mm), engraved title page, and 41 double-page engraved charts, and one chart on two sheets joined, half-calf over paper boards, depicting the Swedish flag, spine in eight compartments gilt.
  • Inventory reference: 18459


Extremely scarce Swedish maritime atlas, published by Admiral Gustaf af Klint between 1797 and his death in 1840, continued up to 1848 by his heirs.

Altogether 65 sea charts were published for this work. The present copy contains 42 charts bearing dates between 1798 and 1820, and was was published in 1830. Although the large-scale charts were of the Baltic Sea and the Swedish shores, the atlas covered not only the Swedish coastline but western and southern Europe as far as the Mediterranean” (Mare Balticum p. 222).

History of the Atlas

In 1757, a concerted effort was begun by the Swedish Admiralty to update and re-chart Swedish waters, through detailed triangulation of the coasts. The surveying work was entrusted to Nils Schenmark (1720–1788), Johan Covin (1722–1804), later ennobled as Nordenankar in 1763, and Johan Justander (1713–74). In 1772, Nordenankar was appointed head of the Swedish Sea-chart Authority, and ten years later as head of the Improvement of Sea-charts as a whole. He was helped in the great re-charting endeavour by Erik Klint (1732–1812) who had been, since 1761, triangulating the southern coast of Sweden. Between 1785–90, an atlas of charts, bearing Nordenankar’s name, was published. The work consisted of 12 charts, with the majority drawn by Erik Klint.

The Swedish Admiralty Office was disbanded in 1791, and there was no-one who wanted to take up Johan Nordenankar’s work on the sea-atlas. To rescue the situation, Gustaf af Klint (1771–1840), who at the time was captain in the navy, offered to take over the publishing of the sea-charts on contract. He had received early training as a cartographer of sea-charts from his father, Erik af Klint. The proposal was accepted, and in 1798 af Klimt was granted an exclusive licence for 20 years. This laid the foundations for Svergie sjœatlas” (Sweden’s Sea-Atlas). During the period 1798–1820, af Klint published around forty charts with descriptions of the coasts. After 1818, he was awarded a public grant of 1,000 riksdaler towards the works production. When the work was taken over by the state in 1848, the atlas consisted of 65 charts. 

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