Catalog Archive
Auction 181, Lot 322

English Chart of the Pacific Coast of Mexico

"Carta Particolare della Parte Ocidentale della Nuova Spagnia, e della California", Dudley, Robert (Sir)

Subject: Western Mexico

Period: 1647 (circa)

Publication: Dell' Arcano del Mare...

Color: Black & White

29.9 x 19 inches
75.9 x 48.3 cm

This uncommon chart covers the western coast of Mexico from the southern tip of Baja California to beyond Acapulco. Features excellent detail along the coastlines with numerous place names, inlets, soundings, and anchorages. Extends inland to Mexico City, but the interior is otherwise mostly blank. The chart is elegantly engraved with fine calligraphy, a bold title cartouche, sailing ship and compass rose by the Florentine craftsman Arnoldo Lucini. Two sheets joined as issued.

Robert Dudley was the first Englishman to produce a sea atlas, Dell Arcano del Mare (Secrets of the Sea). Dudley, a skilled mathematician and navigator, 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 #144; Wagner #352b.

Condition: B+

Issued folding on watermarked paper with some light toning and staining along the fold lines. A small area of loss along the lower right fold has been closed on verso with archival materials.

Estimate: $1,400 - $1,700

Sold for: $850

Closed on 2/10/2021