Timelapse Film Shows How the British Library Digitized the World’s Largest Atlas, the 6‑Foot Tall “Klencke Atlas” from 1660

As a way of cur­ry­ing favor with a monarch, Johannes Klencke’s gift to Charles II (1630–1685) was one of the most auda­cious and beau­ti­ful objects ever offered. Klencke was a Dutch sug­ar mer­chant and knew that the king loved maps, and hoped that his gift would land him a favor­able trad­ing deal. (It did. He got knight­ed.)

The gift, the 1660 Klencke Atlas, is one of the world’s biggest books at near­ly six feet tall and near­ly sev­en and a half feet wide when open, and it con­tains 41 wall maps of var­i­ous accu­ra­cy. We first post­ed about the Klencke Atlas back in 2015, where you can see a short BBC doc on the British Library’s care of the book. But only recent­ly has the library been able to scan the maps so the pub­lic can now access them for free in high res­o­lu­tion.

The above video, which the British Library post­ed by way of Daniel Crouch Rare Books, shows a time-lapse of the mul­ti­ple day shoot, which took sev­er­al peo­ple, a very large room, sev­er­al lights, and a spe­cial­ly designed stand to hold the heavy vol­ume.

The pub­lic domain images are now part of the Library’s Pic­tur­ing Places web­site, which holds many exam­ples of rare maps, land­scapes, and large scale tech­ni­cal draw­ings.

The book itself, as huge as it might be, is actu­al­ly very frag­ile, so now the pub­lic and schol­ars can ful­ly explore these maps at leisure while the orig­i­nal goes back into stor­age.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Behold the Largest Atlas in the World: The Six-Foot Tall Klencke Atlas from 1660

Ancient Maps that Changed the World: See World Maps from Ancient Greece, Baby­lon, Rome, and the Islam­ic World

Browse & Down­load 1,198 Free High Res­o­lu­tion Maps of U.S. Nation­al Parks

Down­load 67,000 His­toric Maps (in High Res­o­lu­tion) from the Won­der­ful David Rum­sey Map Col­lec­tion

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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