Most of us think of maps as functional documents that assist us in navigating from place to place. But printed maps have their own sort of nostalgic beauty, particularly since map usage in the modern era is almost exclusively digital. Many mapmakers of the past embellished their functional work with beautiful – even fantastical – art, sometimes even creating a new illustration out of the outlines of their geographical renderings.
Presented here is a gallery of vintage and antique maps that could double as decorative art. If you would like to see even more, our 2022 Vintage Maps Calendar includes a baker’s dozen images of stunning map art, all perforated for easy removal and sized to fit standard frames, so you can fill your own walls with these masterpieces of cartography.