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Astronomy, Celestial Chart, Double Hemisphere, Homann Heirs, Antique Print, Nuremberg, 18th Century


Georg Christoph Eimmart (1638-1705) (after)
Johann Baptist Homann (1664-1724) (cartographer)
Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr (1677-1750) (astronomer)
Planisphaerium Caeleste [Celestial Planisphere, van Gent Addendum No. 2]
Homann Heirs, Nuremberg: 18th Century
Inscription centered under border: G.C. Eimmarti prostat in Officina Homanniana
Hand-colored engraving
19.5 x 22.5 inches, plate mark
21.75 x 25 inches, overall

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A double hemisphere celestial chart, showing constellations of the northern and southern hemispheres depicted as allegorical figures, animals and scientific instruments. The stars are shown in six degrees of magnitude according to a key in the center between the hemispheres. The selection and style of the constellations followed that of Firmamentum Sociescianum sive Uranographia (1687) by the Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius, whose name is noted in the subtitle of the chart. The subtitle further indicates that the chart also draws on the work of Edmund Halley, the British astronomer for whom Halley’s Comet is named. There are numerous variants of this chart published in Germany in the 18th century; this example, Planispaerium Caeleste by Homann, bears the name of the firm (Officina Homanniana) under the border in the lower margin, together with the name of Georg Christoph Eimmart (1638-1705), a Nuremberg astronomer.

Product description continues below.


The outer borders of the chart are decorated with six inset diagrams against a background of clouds including the planetary models of Tycho Brahe, Ptolemy, and Copernicus. The other 3 diagrams show the illumination of the moon by the sun, the revolution of the earth around the sun, and the effect of the moon on tides.

Various firms in Amsterdam, Nuremberg and Augsburg published double hemisphere constellation charts based on the work of George Eimmart titled Planispaerium Caeleste or Planisphaerium Coeleste (minor spelling difference noted) during the first eight decades of the 18th century, which can be divided fundamentally into two different versions. The prolific Nuremberg publisher Johann Baptist Homann first published Planispaerium Caeleste in his Neuer Atlas in 1707, bearing the inscription “Opera G.C. Eimmarti. prostat in Officina Homanniana,” meaning “Work of Georg Christoph Eimmart offered for sale by the Homann Workshop.” That chart has six inset diagrams. Scholar Robert H. van Gent notes the existence of similar prints of this format published by de Wit, Funck, Schenck, and Lotter, as well as by R. & J. Ottens in Amsterdam (see Ottens’ Planisphaerium Coeleste our web site). The other versions vary more considerably with the inclusion of a seventh inset diagram and a figural illustration in the upper center. These include ones published by Melchior Rein in Augsburg and by Georg Matthäus Seutter (1647–1756) in Nuremberg (see Rein’s Planisphaerium Coeleste on our web site).

Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr and Johann Baptist Homann were frequent collaborators in producing celestial and astronomical charts for atlases published by Homann and issued under various titles. The major two compilations of Dopplemayr’s works were published by Homann Heirs: Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis et in Eodem Stellarum Omnium Phoenomena Notabilia, issued as 30 plates in 1742, and the revised edition of this work Atlas Novus Coelestis, in quo Mundus Spectabilis, et in Eodem tam Errantium quam Inerrantium Stellarum Phoenomena Notabilia, issued in 1748 (with an additional plate depicting the solar eclipse of 1748).

Nonetheless, these charts have a complicated publishing history that is not fully known at present. Some of these charts had appeared in earlier Homann editions such as his first atlas, the Neuer Atlas (Nuremberg: 1707), Atlas von Hundert Charten (Nuremberg: 1712),Grossen Atlas (Nuremberg: 1716), and Atlas Portatilis Coelestis(Nuremberg: 1723). Homann also issued geographical maps in various atlases that may have included celestial plates (particularly composite atlases), and Homann and his heirs presumably sold separately issued maps. Further, three additional celestial and astronomy plates have been located in at least one Homann celestial compilation atlas (1742, 1748, or later?), though not among the 30 maps of the standard issue of Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis, namely Sphaerarum Artificialium Typica Repraesentatio (globes and armillary sphere), Neu invertirte Geographische Universal (clock), and Planisphaerium Caeleste (double hemisphere celestial chart).

Doppelmayr, a professor of mathematics at the Aegidien Gymnasium at Nuremberg, was an acclaimed German geographer and astronomer who wrote on astronomy, geography, cartography, trigonometry, sundials and mathematical instruments. He was also involved in the production of globes as part of a larger goal to bring the scientific ideas of the Enlightenment to a broader public. In service of that idea, Doppelmayr translated several works into German including Nicholas Bion’s 1699 work L’usage des globes célestes et terrestes, et des sphères [The Usage of Celestial and Terrestrial Globes and of Spheres]. Doppelmayr was elected to several scientific societies, including the Berlin Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society and the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

Johann Baptist Homann, a former Dominican monk, became a celebrated cartographer of 18th century Nuremberg, Germany, producing maps and celestial charts (generally in atlases), and globes of high quality both in their geographic accuracy and aesthetic appeal. According to map expert R.V. Tooley: “The most important and prolific map-makers in Germany in the 18th century were the Homann family (1702-1813). The founder and principal member was Johann Baptist Homann. He set up his headquarters in Nuremberg and quickly dominated the German market. Nor did he confine his efforts to his homeland, but produced general atlases covering the whole world.”

After settling in Nuremberg in 1688, Johann Baptist Homann was employed as a map engraver before founding his own firm in 1702. Homann’s geographical, celestial, and astronomical maps were published in a variety of atlases throughout the 18th century.  Most of his geographical maps first appeared in Neuer Atlas…über die Gantze Welt [New Atlas of the Whole World] (c. 1712-1730, also known in Latin as Atlas Novus) and Grosser Atlas über die Gantze Welt [Grand Atlas of all the World] (c. 1737). His celestial maps, produced in collaboration with Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr, were issued as part of various publications before being published as a collection posthumously by his heirs, most notably as Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis et in Eodem Stellarum Omnium Phoenomena Notabilia, issued as 30 plates in 1742.

Homann’s geographical maps were frequently republished by the Homann heirs throughout the 18th century, most notably in Atlas Geographicus Maior (c. 1780) and Atlas Homannianus, (Amsterdam, 1731-1796). Homann was initially succeeded by his son, Johann Christoph Homann (1703-1730), then by his friend Johann Michael Franz (1700-1761) and stepsister’s husband Johann Georg Ebersberger (1695-1760). The company continued operations under different names until 1848.

Full publication information lower center: “Opera G.C. Eimmarti. prostat in Officina Homanniana [Work of G.C. Eimmarti. Sold in the Homann Workshop].”

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling, soft creases, printer’s creases. Slight irregularities to margin edges. Center vertical fold as issued, professionally flattened.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 7. p. 162 (Rein).

Lamb, Tom and Collins, Jeremy. The World in Your Hands: An Exhibition of Globes and Planetaria. London: Christie’s, 1994. p. 55, fig. 4.40.

Stoppa, Felice. “Georg Christoph Eimmart.” Atlas Coelestis. (23 October 2015).

van Gent, Robert Harry. “The Atlas Coelestis (1742) of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr.” Web Pages on the History of Astronomy by Robert Harry van Gent. (3 November 2015).

Additional information


18th Century