Catalog Archive
Auction 179, Lot 1

Attractive Matched Set from the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography

"[Lot of 5] Nova Orbis Tabula, in Lucem Edita [and] Novissima et Accuratissima Totius Americae Descriptio [and] Totius Africae Accuratissima Tabula [and] Accuratissima Totius Asiae Tabula... [and] Nova et Accurata Totius Europae Descriptio", Wit, Frederick de

Subject: World & Continents

Period: 1680 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

22.7 x 19.2 inches
57.7 x 48.8 cm

This is a matching set of maps of the world and continents by noted Dutch map publisher, Frederick de Wit. Size varies slightly.

A. Nova Orbis Tabula, in Lucem Edita. This is one of the most attractive double-hemispherical world maps of the late seventeenth century. The corners are filled with images of the seasons, the zodiac, and the elements, all combined within four well-composed vignettes. At top left is a personification of Spring, who also represents Virgo, with the element of Air billowing her robes. The bull of Taurus and the ram of Aries are shown to the right. The top right vignette represents Autumn, with the shore in the background illustrating the element Water. A putti holds a crab representing Cancer, and another holds the lion of Leo. The twins of Gemini flank the inset of the North Pole at top. The lower left scene presents Summer and Earth with a wine-imbibing Bacchus and a scene of drunkenness. The signs for Scorpio and Libra are held by two followers, while Sagittarius gallops in the background. Winter holds court in the final vignette, with the element of Fire shown to the left. Aquarius is represented by a child pouring water into a basin. A group of raucous children in the background hold a goat representing Capricorn and a fishing pole with the double fish of Pisces.

In North America, the Great Lakes appear as one large semi-circle, and the island of California is shown on the Briggs model with a flat northern coast, and a portion of Anian appears in the Pacific Northwest. South America has the mythical L. Parime astride the equator, with the imaginary golden city of Manoa on its shores. Asia displays a Japan with an oversized Iedso (Hokkaido) shown on the map of the Western Hemisphere. A partial coastline for Australia is shown, and both New Zealand and Tasmania are indicated by only one stretch of coastline. The inset of the North Pole shows Hudson Bay with two southern bays, and the inset of the South Pole is nearly blank save for the very tip of South America and Tierra del Fuego. This is the first plate/second state with cherubs in the cusps and border around the map. Ref: Shirley #451. Condition: There are archival repairs to three tears adjacent to the centerfold at top, a few tiny holes along the lower centerfold, and a chip at bottom with a tiny amount of border and image in facsimile. Additional minor repairs have been made in the margins along with light toning along the centerfold and minor soiling.

B. Novissima et Accuratissima Totius Americae Descriptio. This is the fourth state of this great map of the Americas, originally engraved circa 1675, with the sailing ships removed from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and longitudinal lines ending in 8s. While the decorative features follow Visscher, the cartography is largely based on Sanson. California is an Island, the Great Lakes are open-ended in the west, and the R. del Norte flows from a large western lake and empties into the sea between the mainland and California, labeled Mare Vermio. In South America, the mythical lakes of Parime Lacus and Xarayes are shown, along with vignettes of a battle scene and a village in the Brazilian interior. The pictorial title cartouche contains scenes of gold panning, hunting and a native chief standing beneath an umbrella. The only change De Wit made was that the chief is standing on the left rather than on the right as in Visscher's composition. The top cartouche depicts angels struggling with a devil for the soul of a Native American. Ref: Burden #465; McLaughlin #49, Tooley (America) p.120 #33. Condition: There is scattered foxing, light soiling, and archival repairs to numerous centerfold separations and a few worm tracks at bottom. A tiny chip at the bottom of the centerfold has been replaced in facsimile. Additional minor repairs have been made in the margins, and manuscript notations are visible in the image.

C. Totius Africae Accuratissima Tabula. The information contained in this beautiful map of the African continent is typical of the late 17th Century. The Nile appears according to the ancient pattern of Ptolemy, arising from the two lakes of Zaire and Zafflan. De Wit's depiction of the southeastern coast includes numerous deep inlets and several rivers and lakes at the southern tip not seen on other maps of the period. The kingdom of Monomotapa extends as far south as the Rio de Infante and there are few names in the interior of the Cape. The fictitious N. I. de Sta. Helena appears in the South Atlantic. The interior is decorated with elephants, ostriches, monkeys, lions and rhinoceros, and seven small ships sail in the oceans. The well-engraved title cartouche features Moors and Africans with a child seated on an elephant and two lions perched atop the cartouche. This popular map was copied by several other cartographers including Danckerts and De Ram. This is the fourth state. Ref: Betz #114.5; Norwich #48. Condition: There are archival repairs to numerous centerfold separations, tiny chips along the centerfold at bottom with minute loss of image, and a number of edge tears that extend 1-2" into the image at left and right. Light offsetting and minor manuscript notations in the image.

D. Accuratissima Totius Asiae Tabula Recens Emendata. This large and handsome map of the continent and East Indies shows the extent of European knowledge of the region. It is vividly rendered with good detail throughout the south and southeast, due to the surveys of the Dutch East India Company, while northern and central Asia is filled mostly with mountains, deserts, and forests. The work of the Jesuit missionaries is reflected in the well-documented region of China. Japan is shown on the Blaeu/Martini type with Yedso as a disembodied coastline in the sea above Japan. Corea is shown as a small peninsula. The large, mythical Chiammay Lacus, located in central China, spawns five major south-flowing rivers. At the very bottom, the northern tip of Australia is depicted. The large title cartouche includes a busy scene including traders with their exotic cargo. Ref: Yeo #59. Condition: There are archival repairs to several centerfold separations and three adjacent small tears. Additional minor repairs have been made in the margins, with a portion of border at top left replaced in facsimile.

E. Nova et Accurata Totius Europae Descriptio. Finely engraved large map of Europe with the characteristic detail of this prominent Dutch cartographer. It is richly ornamented with a variety of ships sailing the seas, a compass rose, a sea monster, Europa shown riding Zeus in the form of a bull, and several putti holding the title banner aloft. Engraved by Abraham Deur with his signature at bottom center. Condition: Light scattered foxing with archival repairs to several centerfold separations at top and a small chip at bottom.


Condition: B

See description for condition statements on each map.

Estimate: $8,000 - $9,500

Sold for: $6,000

Closed on 9/16/2020