“Neueste Karte von Hindostan” By Franz Anton Schrämbl

nueste_karte_hindostanThe Allgemeiner Grosser Atlas

Franz Anton Schrämbl (1751-1803) published his Allgemeiner Grosser Atlas in 1800. One of the first Austrian world atlases, the Allgemeiner Grosser Atlas proved noteworthy in the cartographic world as an early contributor to Viennese cartography. Vienna had only just begun to establish itself as a cartographic center in 1766 with the founding of the Viennese School of Engraving. In an effort to make a significant contribution to the formation of the Viennese cartographic tradition, Schrambl chose works from authoritative cartographers to enhance the reputability of his production. He featured cartographers such as Jean Baptiste-Bourguignon D’Anville, James Rennell, and Thomas Kitchin, as well as works from institutions such as the Berlin Academy of Sciences and the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

Reproducing Rennell

Schrambl created this reproduction of Hindoostan – the modern-day Indian peninsula – based on James Rennell’s Map of Hindoostan first published in 1782. Rennell’s depiction of India presented an impressive application of the growing capabilities of scientific surveys such as trigonometrical, military, and topological surveys. This application, paired with his use of an extremely small scale, showed an  unprecedented degree of detail for the region, giving the impression of high accuracy. Detailed maps were increasingly sought after as European powers with land claims in India began to divide kingdoms and region and the administration of revenue gained increasing importance. Revenue administration, typically conducted from a distance, depended upon accurate and detailed maps, and Rennell’s map, the first to use physical surveys rather than travelogues as its sources, was especially useful.

The Cartouche

Schrambl goes so far as to replicate the elaborate cartouche on Rennell’s Map of Hindoostan. The cartouche is highly suggestive of the British imperial drive, portraying Britannia receiving books from the traditional Hindu scholarly class of Brahmins, as Sepoys, or Indian soldiers in service to Britain, look on. A pedestal of British Victory supports Britannia and gives her the authority to maintain influence in India. Although Schrambl’s Allgemeiner Grosser Atlas was one of Austria’s first world atlases, his cartouche was more emblematic of British imperial ideals than Austrian – By reproducing this particular aspect of Rennell’s original map, Schrambl was profitting from British imperialism.


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Rennell, James. Memoir of a Map of Hindoostan; or the Mogul Empire. London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1793. Print.

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“Rennell, James (1742-1830).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Web. <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23369>.