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Peter H. Meurer:

The printing privilege for Matthäus Seutter

Cartographica Helvetica 8 (1993) 32–36


The engraver and map publisher Matthäus Seutter (1678–1756) founded his own firm in Augsburg, Germany, around 1707. He successfully published maps, atlases and globes. His maps exist in as many as five different states:

  1. where Seutter's title in his imprint reads Chalcographus (pre-1727)
  2. where the lines of a reference grid have been added (post-1727)
  3. where Seutter's title has been changed to Geographus (post-1731)
  4. where a note concerning a privilege has been added (post-1741)
  5. where the imprint of Seutter's name has been replaced (Tobias Conrad Lotter) or supplemented with the name of his successor (Johann Michael Probst)

The privilege was issued on 31 July 1741 by the regency court (Reichsvikariatsgerichtshof) in Augsburg during the interregnum between 1740 and 1742, in which the imperial throne was vacant. Although the privilege was in force only in parts of the Holy Roman Empire (Rhineland, Suabia, and the area with Frankish Law), it was of no disadvantage to him.

The question as to why Seutter waited 25 years after founding his firm before applying for a privilege has not been answered yet. Was it because it marked the publication of his own compiled maps or was it his cleverness in taking advantage of the presence of the regency court in his hometown?

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