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Monday, February 27, 2012

Offering of the Day: A Rare and Elegant Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Map of Southwestern Sweden

Southwestern Sweden (part of Götaland) Bengt Gustav von Rappholt (1719-1762)
Southwestern Sweden (part of Götaland)
Manuscript map in ink and watercolor wash, approx. 121/4" x 37" (221/8" x 475/8" framed)
Dated Wenersborg 1743
$15,000

Oriented with north at upper right, this beautifully rendered manuscript map encompasses the southwestern quadrant of Sweden (part of modern-day Götaland), from Gothenberg (or Göteborg) in the south to Holmedal in the north, and from Strömstad in the west (at the present-day border with Norway) to Lake Vänern in the east. The map is the work of Bengt Gustav von Rappholt, an army engineer who retired at the rank of captain, then went on to a career as a prosperous factory owner. He became part of a prominent Swedish family with his marriage to Elsa Johanna Geijer, daughter of wealthy industrialist Bengt Gustav Geijer. Rappholt's brother-in-law, Emanuel Geijer, was raised to the rank of nobility as Emanuel af Geijerstam. He is described in records as a "Bersgråd," a title given to the head of the Bergskollegium, an organization that existed from 1713 to 1857 to oversee and control the mining industry and the refining of metals.

Götaland is a historical land of Sweden. Geographically it is located in the south of Sweden, bounded to the north by Svealand, with the deep woods of Tiveden, Tylöskog and Kolmården marking the border. Götaland once consisted of petty kingdoms, which its inhabitants called Gautar in Old Norse. It is generally agreed that these were the same as the Geatas, the people of the hero Beowulf in England's national epic by the same name. The region is also the traditional origin of the Goths.

Today, Götaland has no administrative function and is thus an unofficial entity, but it is generally considered to be one of three Swedish lands or regions. It is made up of ten provinces, based loosely on the area originally under the jurisdiction of the Göta Court of Appeals (established in 1634), to which the Scanian lands, Gotland and Bohuslän were added in 1658-1679.

This elegant map, with its delicate watercolor wash denoting the North Sea and flawless calligraphy, focuses primarily the Götaland provinces of Bohuslän and Dalsland, which appear at center. This is a beautifully rendered and delicately colored eighteenth-century manuscript map.

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