The Klencke Atlas | The Enormous Historical Atlas

The Klencke Atlas, Few years ago it was considered the largest book in the world, published in 1660 and only 2017 digitized by the British Library, where it is located.

The atlas dimensions are impressive. When it is open it has a height of 1.75 meters and a width of 1.9 meters. Indeed, it is very heavy and its need six people to transport it.

The Klencke Atlas | The Enormous Historical Atlas

For more than three centuries, the Atlas was the world’s largest, but in 2012, the giant version of the Australian publisher, Earth Platinum, called the Cheers, surpassed by 0.05 meter.

The collection of charts took the name of Yahannes Clenke (1620-1672), who was head of a group of Dutch sugar merchants who handed the Atlas to King Charles II, hoping for favorable agreements with Britain.

“Klencke Atlas is important both on its own and its components,” says Tom Harper, chief editor of archaeological maps at the British Library in an article on the Atlas.

“As an object, scale and perception, he recalled Renaissance ideas about the symbolic power of a book that contained the knowledge of the whole world. He would have given Karolos a spiritual power, a principle imposed by his intimidating presence today. “


The Klencke Atlas is in public view since 2010 after its major restoration, for the first time in 350 years with pages open, at an exhibition at the British Library and digitized by the British Library in April 2017.

It took several hands to transport and place it on a huge support to take high-resolution photos and digitization took several days to record each of the included maps.

“We have digitized the Atlas to increase access to the 41 maps contained in it, which are extremely rare,” said Harper.

The maps were intended to be removed and placed on the wall. They cover the continents and the various European states with all the geographic knowledge of the time.









Source: Hyperallergic


  1. Very cool! Another thing I found fascinating that I have used in poetry is the word ‘trap street;… which basically means a publisher of a map put in a fake street to be able to identify an unauthorized copy. That is a huge arse map!

    Liked by 2 people

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