Dudley's Rare Chart of the North Atlantic Including the Lesser Antilles
"Carta dell Isole di Capo Verde con l'Isole dell Indie Occidentale, et Parte della Terra Ferma di Guiana...", Dudley, Robert (Sir)
Subject: North Atlantic
Period: 1646 (circa)
Publication: Dell' Arcano del Mare
Color: Black & White
29.3 x 18.9 inches
74.4 x 48 cm
This is Dudley's very rare map of the North Atlantic Ocean, extending from the Lesser Antilles to the Cape Verde Islands. The map includes Sombrero Island in the north and the delta of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. The distinctive calligraphy (alla cancellaresca), fine cartouche, compass rose and sailing ship are the fine work of the engraver, Antonio Francesco Lucini. Printed on two joined sheets, as issued. This is the second state, with "Lo.6o." added to the title cartouche.
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-1b.
A sharp impression on a bright sheet with the watermark of three small hills. There is light toning along the centerfold, a minor crease at bottom center, and a damp stain confined to the left blank margin.