Catalog Archive
Auction 130, Lot 381

"Carta Particolare della Brasilia Settentrionale", Dudley, Robert (Sir)

Subject: Brazil

Period: 1647 (published)

Publication: Dell Arcano del Mare

Color: Black & White

29 x 19 inches
73.7 x 48.3 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

This is the very rare, first edition of Dudley's elegant map of the northern coastline of Brazil. The map covers from the Baia de Sao Marcos to the vicinity of present-day Aracaju. Every river and creek along the coastline is shown with soundings, hazards and good anchorages carefully recorded. The distinctive calligraphy (alla cancellaresca), fine cartouche, compass rose and sailing ship are the work of the engraver, Antonio Francesco Lucini. Printed on two, joined sheets as issued.

Robert Dudley was the first Englishman to produce a sea atlas, Dell Arcano del Mare (Secrets of the Sea). He introduced a totally new style for sea charts in the atlas with only lines of latitude and longitude and no rhumb lines. The charts were meticulously compiled from original sources and were both scientific and accurate for the time. This important atlas was the first sea atlas of the whole world; the first to use Mercator's projection throughout; the earliest to show the prevailing winds, currents and magnetic deviation; and the first to expound the advantages of Great Circle Sailing. In an introductory leaf found in one copy in the British Library, the engraver states that he worked on the plates in seclusion for twelve years in an obscure Tuscan village, using no less than 5,000 pounds of copper for the printing plates. It was only issued in two editions and the maps are rarely seen on the market. This map is from the first edition.


Condition: B+

Fine impression and overall very good condition. There is a tiny hole in a stray ink spot above the compass rose and some very faint spots.

Estimate: $2,200 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,600

Closed on 12/2/2009