Stichting Vrijwilligersproject EXPLOKART
Utrechtse Historisch-Cartografische Studies, Utrecht Studies in the History of Cartography, vol. 6
Published by HES & De Graaf Publishers, 't Goy-Houten
Editorial ForewordMappæ Antiquæ.. Oude Kaarten.. Early Maps.. Alte Karten..: Günter Schilder
This book about old maps is a Liber Amicorum that came about especially for a man who travelled to the farthest corners of the world to study those historic documents with love and passion throughout his entire life, then describing and analysing them down to the smallest detail. It was presented to him on 16 February 2007 by the editorial staff and all the others who worked on this publication to mark the occasion of his 65th birthday as well as the fact that he has been the holder for over 25 years of the only chair in the history of cartography in the world. The MAPPÆ ANTIQUÆ was presented to him during a study day organised especially for that purpose at the Marine Kazerne in Amsterdam.
Putting together this Liber Amicorum for Günter Schilder was an extraordinarily enjoyable task. A task that commenced during a flight from Madrid to Amsterdam on Sunday the 8th of July 2001. On the return flight from the International Conference on the History of Cartography in Madrid Paula van Gestel, Peter van der Krogt and Marco van Egmond were sitting side by side discussing the experiences of the previous days. Somewhere above Paris, some 10 kilometres up in the sky, the conversation was about Günter, his career and the top position that he had already held for over thirty years in historic cartography. And thus came about the idea of putting together a book of friends on the occasion of his 65th birthday, also his retirement age and probably the end of his official scholarly career. The list of participants in the programme of the conference in Madrid was a first guideline on the basis of which to approach some possible authors. Already in the aeroplane on the 8th of July 2001 some fifty scholars were selected and a provisional programme was prepared. A time schedule was established bearing in mind that potential authors would have to be given the opportunity to carry out new research on behalf of this special publication and to write an article about historic cartography that would not be published before that time. In the subsequent months, the plan was elaborated further. The first contacts with possible authors were established during the ICHC in Boston in July of 2003. Paula approached all the envisaged authors that were present and requested that they write their articles, at the latest by August 2005, in Dutch, German, English or French, whichever one they preferred. All of this had to remain, of course, strictly top-secret. After the conference in Boston the remaining authors, those not in that city, were contacted in writing. The reactions were overwhelming and extraordinarily enthusiastic. The demonstrated willingness to cooperate in this project was unprecedentedly great. Only some authors were unable to make their contributions, these for a variety of personal reasons. To balance this, however, by way of recommendations among the group a number of authors who had not yet been contacted ear-lier were added to the list of contributors.
The articles as these were written by the authors demonstrate a great variety of cartographic subjects and are sometimes very personal in nature. In addition, at the request of the editors the authors also wrote quite personal messages to or about Günter, placed before each article followed by the photo and signature of the relevant author. Thanks to the decision to invite as many colleagues from around the world as possible to collaborate on this publication, the editors observed that a very high scholarly level was realized. In view of the professional status of Günter Schilder himself this fact was a significant objective from the very beginning.
The editorial staff did not become involved in the scientific content of the articles. Final editing concer-ned only making notes and literature lists uniform, organizing the illustrations and having the necessary translations carried out. The editors have accepted a differentiation between British English and American English and in the Dutch spelling of cartography: cartografie or kartografie - to name just a few occasions where the author's choice prevailed. The articles are classified according to topic. The editors strove to achieve a logical organisation of themes with the greatest emphasis being placed on the subject of the contribution and not the nationality of the author or the order of his name in the alphabet.
Unfortunately a number of authors that the editors would have liked to have participated do not appear in this publication. In 2001 the plan was that Günter's 'cartographic father', Nico Israel, would write the foreword. Lord Wardington was originally also to be one of the authors. Alas both gentlemen died a few years ago. The contribution of Professor Cornelis Koeman, Günter's illustrious predecessor, is also lacking in this publication, because his health no longer permitted participation. He died in June of 2006. Two authors, however, do indeed appear posthumously in this book. Klaus Stopp, who also died in the sum-mer of 2006, also made a contribution to this work thanks to the help of Peter Meurer. David Woodward, one of Günter's most prominent colleagues, wrote his article in draft form before he died in 2004. Matthew Edney completed his contribution. The editors consider it a great honour that these two good friends of Günter were able to be part of his Liber Amicorum posthumously.
The realisation of a publication such as this would not have been possible without the assistance of many people. First of all we would like to thank the authors themselves. It is impossible to publish a book without authors. They spent many hours writing their articles. The editing of the English language con-tributions would not have been possible for the Dutch speaking editors without the aid of Ed Dahl, 'EDitor' par excellence. The expertise of Peter Meurer was vital when it came to editing the articles in German. Our thanks also go to Tony Campbell for writing a magnificent foreword. The result is now complete. A remarkably impressive publication with a portfolio with two facsimiles, together in a splendid cassette, all of this the joint result of the labours of a total of 54 authors from sixteen countries, six editors and a great number of sponsors. For this latter aspect the editors are very grate-ful to Hans Kok, whose tremendous efforts were of extraordinarily great importance. This publication can certainly be called unique, not last of all due to the definitely unique and very special collaboration between the two cartographic publishers who played and continue to play a great role in the publication of the works of Günter Schilder himself. Publishing house Canaletto/Repro-Holland, responsible for the production and publication of Günter's magnum opus Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, generous-ly assumed responsibility for the production of facsimiles of two multi-sheet town views of Vienna. HES & DE GRAAF Publishers, responsible for the production and publication of the Utrecht Studies in the History of Cartography of the research programme Explokart, was magnanimous with its work on behalf of the production of this Liber Amicorum.
Now, after six years of preparation, intensive contact with dozens of authors, after a few thousand e-mails, letters and telephone calls, the Liber Amicorum Günter Schilder, (code name LAGS), is ready. The edito-rial staff and the authors wish to direct a personal word to Günter:
Foreword by Tony CampbellProfessor Günter Schilder has transformed the study of sixteenth and seventeenth century Dutch printed maps. Indeed, through his efforts it has become the best-documented chapter in what - given the Dutch dominance in that period - is a history we all share. He has done this first by identifying the corpus of relevant maps, and then by describing and displaying them.
The 'Mapfinder Extraordinary' - and I am disappointed that so fitting a term, proposed 20 years ago, has yet to be adopted - has unearthed more maps 'flushed out of an obscure archive and exposed to the light of scholarship' (in Robert Karrow's neat phrase), than almost all the rest of us combined. I do hope he has intentionally left a few for later generations to find.
Günter's greatest discovery, surely, was finding the 1636 Visscher wall-map, already immortalised in Vermeer's 'The Art of Painting'. Volume 1 of his Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica (MCN) described the bald facts of how this had been rolled up 'in a chest (erroneously thought to be the wood-en bottom of a large cupboard'. Yet the fuller story, as described by Marco van Egmond, was far more of a 'Dan Brown' moment: 'No one believed me when I first suspected that the crate had a double bottom. But when a cabinetmaker was called in to help, with many creaks and groans a second drawer was indeed uncovered full of old maps'. Who holds the paperback rights to the memoirs of this 'excellent detective' (as Catherine Delano Smith called him), the cartographic Hercule Poirot?
I was delighted to read that Günter always referred to MCN as 'my Monuments', since for me, from the time Volume 1 appeared in 1986, the series could only be 'Monumenta Guenteriana'. Robert Karrow ended his review of the latest MCN volume (in Imago Mundi, 58:1) in pure admiration:
'Gazing at the seven sturdy blue volumes, each with its accompanying portfolio, one is faced with one of the most ambitious and useful publications ever to grace the history of cartography, and one that will still be consulted a century from now... Contemplating the series as a whole, and the even more ambitious 'Explokart' programme, of which MCN is just a part, one simply stands in awe of the single-mind-ed vision, scholarship, dedication, management and mentoring skills of the indefatigable Dr Schilder.'
In his contribution to this volume, Peter Barber has asked, 'has any author believed more fervently in his work - and with more justification?'. At the British Library we saw that determination at first hand when he persuaded the Reprographics department to alter the way they always filmed uncoloured engravings. They had been taught to value tonal balance, not clarity. As a result, the BL material in future MCN volumes was of much higher quality. I hope other scholars and their publishers will have benefited from Günter's insistence.
A professor is both a scholar and a teacher. When Günter was appointed in 1981 to the history of cartography chair at the University of Utrecht - the first such post in the world - he set about training up others in what was then an unstructured field. These included doctoral students and some 50 'volun-teers' in the amazing 'Explokart' project. The results can be seen in this volume, whose contributors include - taking their rightful place in a roll-call of the leading members in this field - the following: Paul van den Brink, Marco van Egmond, Marc Hameleers, Elger Heere, Peter van der Krogt and Martijn Storms. Those, and others, write of his genuine engagement with their projects, his kindliness and sensitivity.
Sowing seeds for others to reap is another mark of a good teacher. Agustín Hernando's chapter is inspired by a discussion he had with Günter in 1991, while Philip Burden's is the result of the 'inspira-tion' of a talk they had in Antwerp in 1994 - examples of desert flowers blooming.
Günter and I must have met at the 1971 International Conference on the History of Cartography in Edinburgh, where each of us gave our first ICHC papers, both on Dutch subjects. In the 35 years since, he has become a 'towering figure in the field of historical cartography' (the accolade is from Kazimierz Kozica, who has yet to meet him face to face) and undeniably one of the giants in our field. When he suggested that he should resign as a Director of Imago Mundi Ltd, because he had served for twenty years and was now 'retired', there was an outcry of protest at our annual meeting. We needed him for our status as the coordinating body of the ICHC meetings. Happily, he has remained to provide us with further sound advice and independent opinions.
At that same 1971 conference, Eila Campbell or Helen Wallis (which was it?; they always seemed insep-arable) described Günter as 'an Austrian gift to the Netherlands'. I never dared disagree with either Eila or Helen but I think that now they would perhaps rephrase that as an Austrian gift to the world. The internationality of the subject, and Günter's part in it, are emphasised repeatedly in this volume: by the range of nationalities represented and subjects tackled, and by the frequent mentions in the 'personal note' sections of meetings in different cities. Günter has written almost exclusively about Dutch maps, i.e. those produced in the Netherlands, but these maps cover the world. And, significantly, the most recent volume of MCN is entirely in English. Even if its sub-title' ('Stimulator and driving force of Dutch cartography') referred there to the book's subject, Cornelis Claesz., it applies equally to the book's author.
Henrik Dupont, of the Royal Library in Copenhagen, describes finding a special drawer labelled 'Schilder - rarities'. I do hope that is still there because Professor Schilder is, surely, the greatest rarity of us all. Finally, on a personal note, may I welcome you, Günter, to the ranks of those who have reached the age of full maturity, and wish you every success in what will surely be a thoroughly productive period of your 'full-time' retirement.