Catalog Archive
Auction 157, Lot 689

Speed's Carte-a-Figures Map of Africa

"Africae, Described the Manners of Their Habits, and Buildinge: Newly Done into English...", Speed, John

Subject: Africa

Period: 1676 (circa)

Publication: A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World

Color: Black & White

20.3 x 15.6 inches
51.6 x 39.6 cm
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This decorative map is the first map of Africa prepared by an English cartographer. It is based closely on the maps of Jodocus Hondius and Willem Blaeu. It presents a typical, early seventeenth century view of the continent with the interior filled with fictitious mountains, rivers and lakes. The origin of the Nile conforms to the Ptolemaic tradition of the large twin lakes in the southern part of the continent. The kingdom of Monomotapa occupies a large region in southern Africa. There are numerous interesting notations, including several concerning where gold can be found. The English text on verso provides a fascinating view of the European concept concerning the wildlife, customs and manners of the African people. There is a description of Anthropophagi, cannibals, who kill their own babies to avoid the trouble of raising them; but, in order to preserve their race, steal children from their neighbors. The beautiful carte-a-figures border features natives in their tribal costumes. At top is a panel of panoramas and plans illustrating Tanger, Ceuta, Alger, Tunis, Alexandria, Cairo (Alca), Mozambique and the Canaries. Finely engraved by Abraham Goos, with his signature at lower left. Published and sold by Bassett and Chiswell.

References: Betz #62.3; Norwich #30; Shirley (Bl Atlases) T.SPE-2f.

Condition: A

A clean and bright example on watermarked paper with light show-through of text on verso and a printer's crease at far right. There are very short centerfold separations at top and bottom that have been professionally repaired.

Estimate: $3,500 - $4,250

Sold for: $2,500

Closed on 5/4/2016