Friday, October 31, 2008

Annual Historic Jackson Square Holiday Walk

We invite you to join all of us in Jackson Square to welcome in the holiday season with our annual holiday walk. Enjoy a leisurely evening strolling through historic Jackson Square exploring the fascinating world of art, antiques and design amidst the glow of our holiday lights and good cheer!

Thursday, December 4th
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Historic Jackson Square, San Francisco
Shops are located on Jackson Street between Columbus and Sansome, Gold Street, and Sansome Street between Jackson and Battery.
This event is invitation only.
For more information, please visit the
San Francisco Jackson Square web site.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gerard Mercator: The Most Celebrated Sixteenth-Century Cartographer

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) / Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612)
“Orbis Terrae Compiosa Descriptio”
From Atlas
Amsterdam: c. 1623-1630
Hand-colored copperplate engraving

For nearly sixty years, during the most important and exciting period in the story of modern mapmaking, Gerard Mercator was the supreme cartographer, his name, second only to Ptolemy, synonymous with forms of map projection still in use today. His influence transformed land surveying and his research and calculations lead him to break away from Ptolemy’s conception of the size and outline of the continents, developing a projection that drastically reduced the longitudinal length of Europe and Asia and altered the shape of the Old World as visualized in the early 16th century. Although not the inventor of this type of projection, Mercator was the first to apply it to navigational charts in such a form that compass bearing could be plotted on charts in straight lines, thereby providing seamen with a solution to an age-old problem of navigation at sea. Mercator’s innovations, including the aptly named Mercator projection, continue to be employed in maps produced today, 400 years later.

The geographer died in 1594 after publishing just a few parts of the atlas that he had spent decades preparing. In 1604, after the death of Gerard’s son Rumold, the plates for his maps were sold to the great Amsterdam cartographer, Jodocus Hondius, who brought out the first of the so-called “Mercator-Hondius” editions in 1606. Hondius supplemented the original 107 maps with 39 new maps compiled under his own supervision, bringing the total number to 146, and had the original text expanded by Petrus Montanus. The new maps were of extremely high quality, and were for the most part devoted to parts of the world, such as America, that had been neglected by Mercator. Hondius’s first edition of the general atlas proved instantly popular, selling out within a year. Hondius continued to augment and perfect the atlas over the following years, constantly adding new maps and incorporating new discoveries and corrections. The first French edition came out in 1607, with a translation of the text by the historian Henri Lancelot-Voisin de la Popliniere. This world map is thought to have been published in the 1620s, as the title on the top edge shows the cracks that had developed in the copperplate in this time frame (Shirley, Mapping of the World).

Unlike the work of Abraham Ortelius, a contemporary (and equally celebrated) cartographer, Mercator’s maps were original. Ortelius engaged in the reduction and generalization of already existing maps, while Mercator, with his sense that scientific work should be original and new, checked the current knowledge of the earth’s topography against its fundamental sources and drew maps in an original manner. Mercator was the most skilled mapmaker of his time, spearheading the Golden Age of Dutch cartography. His maps were unsurpassed in terms of accuracy, and no less attention was given to their beauty. Other cartographers looked inevitably to the innovations of Mercator when compiling their own maps, and the reasons for such tribute are clear in every map contained in this spectacular atlas. Vividly hand-colored, it brought distant and exotic places to European viewers with outstanding clarity and immediacy, describing not just the terrain, but also including images of flora and fauna, as well as native peoples. Fearsome sea monsters and European sailing ships adorn the seas, while the glorious Baroque cartouches add gracefully curving architectural elements to the images. This beautifully-colored double hemisphere map of the world represents a great opportunity to acquire the most spectacular map from this landmark publication by the foremost cartographer in history.

This splendid world map is currently on display along with a selection of other fantastic maps of the world and the Americas by Abraham Ortelius, Alexis-Hubert Jaillot, Guillaume de L’Isle and Mercator's grandson, Michael Mercator. For more information please visit or call Arader Galleries at 415-788-5115.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

Plate 26 - Carolina Parrot from John James Audubon's Birds of America

Arader Galleries is thrilled to announce that we will be participating in the San Francisco Fall Antiques show this year! We invite you to stop by to see our extraordinary collection of antique prints, original paintings, globes and furniture. Our collection at the show will include new inventory that has not been on display at our San Francisco locations.

The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show
Preview Party Benefit Gala
Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 7 to 9 p.m.
Show Dates/Times
October 29 to November 1, 2009
Thursday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, Noon to 6 p.m.
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA
For more information about the San Francisco Fall Antiques show, please visit

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

John Gould Artist Proofs

John Gould (1804-1881)
Artist proofs for The Birds of Europe
"Spoonbill" (top image)
"Marsh Sandpiper" (center image)
“Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper” (bottom image)
London: 1832-37

Lithographs with hand-written notations

John Gould was without question the most prolific natural history artist of the 19th century, and the only one to rival John James Audubon in ambition and quality. The 19th century was a time of intense fascination with discoveries in natural history, especially regarding knowledge of the wildlife of exotic lands. Gould shared the romantic enthusiasm of his time for such subjects, as well as the popular impulse to catalogue exotic wildlife. He combined his passion for natural history with outstanding scientific, artistic, and entrepreneurial talents. Drawing on these abilities, he embarked on a series of projects that would eventually make him the leading publisher of ornithological illustrations in Victorian Britain. Gould’s unparalleled career spanned five decades, and he produced a monumental series of books of birds throughout the world.

From the time he took up taxidermy in his early teens, Gould was devoted to recording bird life, either as he observed it personally or as it was reported to him by other ornithologists. He procured the scientific information through extensive correspondence, travel, and field research. The preparatory drawings that he produced were passed on for completion to skilled illustrators, most notably his wife, Elizabeth, and Edward Lear. The plates which resulted from such partnerships were a splendid fusion of art and science, with a scope than remains
unsurpassed. Stunning and at the same time highly accurate, Gould’s illustrations linked beauty to science, and science to beauty, in and an unprecedented manner.

One of the most accomplished and engaging natural history works of the 19th century, The Birds of Europe was also the first of Gould’s works to feature plates by Edward Lear. A total of sixty-eight images bear Lear’s name, and they are among the most remarkable bird drawings ever made. Lear endowed his illustrations with some measure of his own whimsy and intelligence, and his style is at once fluidly spontaneous and realistically precise. In this way, the images of The Birds of Europe are amazingly distinctive, while also highly realistic.

Gould undertook this work partly in an effort to redress the imbalance between the study of local and foreign ornithology. In his preface he stated his mission: “the Birds of Europe, in which we are, or ought to be, most
interested, have not received that degree of attention which they naturally demand. The present work has been undertaken to supply that deficiency.” Gould portrayed birds native to Europe in a manner that had only been thought appropriate for the colorful species of distant places. In this way he managed to draw much popular interest back to native birds, which were suddenly considered equally beautiful to exotic species. These proofs, which have notations by the Goulds, were part of the the final preparation stages for this publication.

These artist proofs (show above and at are currently available for purchase at Arader Galleries. For more information, please call 415.788.5115.