Rare First State of Dudley's Chart of Colombia, Panama and Venezuela
"Carta Particolare del' India Occidentale che Comincia con il Capo S: Romano nel' Mare del' Nort, e finisce con il' Rio Coquele…", Dudley, Robert (Sir)
Subject: Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela
Period: 1647 (circa)
Publication: Dell' Arcano del Mare
Color: Black & White
29.5 x 18.9 inches
74.9 x 48 cm
This elegant sea chart is crisply engraved in the sparse Florentine style with superb calligraphy throughout. The map covers the coastlines of Panama, Colombia and western Venezuela, extending to Aruba. The coasts are filled with place names, soundings, rocks, and shoals, with short navigational notes included throughout. A large compass rose and a strapwork title cartouche embellish the chart. Engraved by A.F. Lucini. This is the first state. 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 #122.
A nice impression on watermarked paper with wide original margins and a bit of printer's ink residue. There are a few tiny worm holes only visible when held to light.