Catalog Archive
Auction 145, Lot 404

An Important Map of South America

"Carta Terza Generale d'America", Dudley, Robert (Sir)

Subject: Southern South America

Period: 1646 (published)

Publication: Dell' Arcano del Mare

Color: Black & White

29 x 18.3 inches
73.7 x 46.5 cm
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This elegant sea chart depicts the southern portion of South America from Lima, Peru and Salvador, Brazil to the tip of Tierra del Fuego. This important and recently charted area shows numerous place names along the coasts, and features a large inset of the southern tip of the continent and the straits of Magellan and Le Maire. The chart is embellished with a strapwork title cartouche, a large compass rose, and a sailing ship. This is the first edition. Printed on two sheets, joined as issued.

Robert Dudley was the first Englishman to produce a sea atlas, Dell Arcano del Mare (Secrets of the Sea). A skilled mathematician and navigator, Dudley was exiled from England and settled in Florence where his atlas was published. 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.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) M.DUD-1a #4.

Condition: C+

A nice impression on watermarked paper. Issued folding with a long separation with areas of loss along a fold at bottom left that has been repaired on verso with old paper. There are a few additional small holes, separations and tears that have been closed with old paper. There is an unrepaired tear at left that enters 1.5" into image.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 6/12/2013