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Astronomy, Diagram, Armillary Sphere, Orrery, Antique Print, Lotter, Augsburg,1774


Tobias Conrad Lotter (1717-1777) (artist and engraver)
Sphaera Armillaris / Instrumentum artificiale Orrery ab inventore appellatum
[Armillary Sphere / Instrument Called Orrery by Its Inventor]
Probably from Atlas Geographicus
Augsburg, Germany: 1774
Hand-colored engraving
19.5 x 23 inches, plate mark
21.75 x 27.25 inches, overall

An armillary sphere and an orrery are shown side by side with descriptions in Latin below them describing the various parts and their significance. The text for the armillary sphere, for instance, explains that the zodiac is a large circular band between the two tropics, in which there are twelve signs, in the form of animal figures, whereby the twelve intervals of the sun’s movement are discerned. The text points out other features of the sphere, including the ecliptic, horizon, poles, tropics, and circular dial, and states that the polar circles are at a distance from the poles 23 degrees, 30 minutes, and 66 degrees 30 minutes from the equator. The text beneath the orrery explains that it shows the sun, Mercury, Venus, and the moon revolving around the earth and gives information regarding distances between planets. This print, bearing Lotter’s name, is typical of the bold engraving with rich Baroque motifs of the Seutter and Lotter firms. A companion print to this one was also produced (not shown here), showing a pair of globes, one terrestrial and one celestial.

Product Description Continues Below


Tobias Conrad Lotter was a cartographer and engraver based in Augsburg. In 1755, he collaborated with Tobias Lobeck on Atlas Geographicus Portatilis. In the mid 18th century he engraved maps for atlases produced by the Seutter cartography firm founded in 1707 by his father-in-law, Georg Matthias Seutter (1678-1757). Seutter had been trained by Johann Baptist Homann, another prominent Augsburg map producer, and served as geographer to the court of Charles VI. Within about a year after Seutter’s death in 1757, Lotter took over the business and continued to issue updated versions of the maps over the next two decades under his own name. The Seutter family of cartographers were, together with the Homann family, the most renowned and prolific map makers of 18th century Germany, the leading center of atlas production at that time. Georg Matthaeus Seutter, Geographer to the Imperial Court, founded the business and was later joined by his son, Albrecht Carl Seutter, who eventually succeeded him. Search our site for other prints by Lotter.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual expecting toning, wear, soiling, soft creases, printer’s creases. Minor book worm holes professionally restored, unobtrusive.


“Historical Maps Germany.” Artelino Art Auctions. 2001-2004. (3 August 2004).

Additional information


18th Century