The Sunderland Collection Original Print No 1

Berlinghieri World Map, hand-coloured, 50 x 70cm, edition of 20

Berlinghieri World Map, hand-coloured, 50 x 70cm, edition of 20

Our first Sunderland Collection original print is this stunning world map from Florentine humanist scholar Francesco Berlinghieri, which first appeared in his Geographia of 1482 – a modern Italian language version of Ptolemy’s earlier Greco-Roman work.

Berlinghieri added four ‘modern’ maps to his Geographia – including this spectacular world projection, which incorporates mythological, geographical and cartographical elements from ancient and contemporary sources. Berlinghieri was one of the first mapmakers to make use of the copperplate printing method, then a pioneering technique which allowed even fine engraved lines to register in intense pigments. The engraver of the map is believed to be early map seller Francesco Rosselli.

The decision to begin our series with Berlinghieri came easily. This well-known and relatively early map is extremely striking, featuring fluid and very detailed engraving, and the fact that The Sunderland Collection holds not only the full atlas but a rare copy of the map in original colour provided a wonderful opportunity to create two small-run editions.

Today, The Sunderland Collection’s printmaking partner Plaintiff Press echoes the historic print process in a contemporary way, combining high-definition digital imagery and modern plate-making technology with the traditional craft of intaglio printing.

Above: Kristina Chan working behind the scenes at Plaintiff Press

Above: Kristina Chan working behind the scenes at Plaintiff Press

To make the prints, a high-resolution scan of the original map was restored digitally and then used to create a photopolymer plate of the original engraving. The tone of the ink was meticulously matched with the original atlas, and – in honour of the Italian mapmaker and engraver – is printed on paper sourced from Italy’s historic Fabriano mill.

The editions are printed using the intaglio method, which is one of the earliest forms of printmaking. Derived from the Italian word meaning ‘incised’, the process involves engraving an image into the surface of a metal plate, on which ink is then applied so that it fills the engraved grooves. The plate is then run by hand through a traditional printing press to produce an image on paper.

Each colour edition is hand-painted by master printmaker and co-founder of Plaintiff Press, Kristina Chan. To achieve density and richness, Chan applied multiple layers of watercolour over time, applying carefully chosen colours that strike a balance between the bright hues of the original map and the current, more muted tones, as they appear more than 500 years later.

Berlinghieri World Map, black and white

Edition of 200

50 x 70cm archival intaglio print on Fabriano Unica 290 gsm


Available for purchase here

Berlinghieri World Map, hand-coloured

Edition of 20

50 x 70cm hand-coloured archival intaglio print on Fabriano Tieopolo 290 gsm


Available for purchase here

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