Or if you are a cartographer in the 18th century, the question might be, “What’s new in the New World?
I love old maps and charts as they sometimes reveal what the map maker knows, doesn’t know, what is considered important, or even what looks good aesthetically. The chart above was created in 1782, and not all of the world was well known. The bottom of Australia is undefined, Alaska is pretty much missing, but the Old World is drawn well, because that was the part of the world most familiar to civilization. Even with the imperfections, this 225 year-old chart is quite striking. Of course, this chart would look splendid in nautical chart wallpaper, custom-made for the decorator in all of us.
The art that cradles the hemispheres in the chart is a cartouche. They are frequently found in older charts and maps. Indeed, these cartouches are works of art in and of themselves. They display the artistic skill in an artisan world of creating a nautically-correct map or chart. Here follows a couple of cartouches of which I’m particularly fond.
The cartouche is a decorative place where the cartographer essentially gives self-credit, but also adds key infomration such as the date the chart was created, what area it represents and perhaps indicates something of the nature of the land and sea with some illustrative art. Note the details, such as the minuteman and Native American in the Greenwich/Long Island Sound Cartouche, and the elephant in the Indostan - East Indies Chart.
So all of these cartouches gave me some inspiration. Why not a cartouche for Nautical Walls? With help from Kathryn Tyler, my Photo Shop expert, she helped me design a cartouche for Nautical Walls, which is another name for our mural creation business.
This cartouche may soon hold a place of honor on a client’s wall, particularly if we customize a chart with color changes, and special effects to meet the needs of the designer/decorator/client.
Please observe that on our modern cartouche, there is a scroll spanning the two hemispheres to give credit to the interior designer or client for the mural. The cartouche could be placed anywhere on the mural that appeals to the client.
So what do you think? Does the centuries-old design concept of a cartouche still work in the 21st Century?