This book aims to preserve and bring forward for wider appreciation the outstanding works of art that many engraved titlepages and frontispieces represent.
Over the time period covered by the present publication – roughly from the 1470s to the 1870s – very many printed books opened with an attractive decorative titlepage or frontispiece; sometimes both. In this book a limited selection has been made from the extremely wide field of known titlepages, mainly by a focus on subject matter which is primarily cartography, geography, history and topography, together with associated disciplines such as astronomy, travel and exploration. A selection of 100 main and approx. 70 supplementary entries adequately covers specimens of different styles, formats, and national characteristics over a four-hundred year time period from the late 15th century onwards. The choice of decorative titlepages or frontispieces includes examples emanating from Italy, Germany (including Switzerland and Austria), the Netherlands (including Flanders), France, Spain, England and some later examples published in the United States.
Rodney Shirley was educated at Stowe and at the Universities of Cambridge (MA) and Harvard (MBA). His main career has been in business but for many years he has been a collector and historian of early maps and associated decorative titlepages. He is past president and a current council member of the International Map Collectors' Society. His book
The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700 is a standard reference work, as are his two books on the early maps of the British Isles. More recently, in 2004, he published a detailed descriptive work
Maps in the Atlases of the British Library c. 800 AD – 1800. Rodney lives in Buckingham and is married with three grown-up children.