Catalog Archive
Auction 185, Lot 416

"Carta Particolare che Mostra il Capo Buona Speranza con il Mare...", Dudley, Robert (Sir)

Subject: South Atlantic

Period: 1647 (published)

Publication: Dell' Arcano del Mare

Color: Black & White

29.4 x 18.8 inches
74.7 x 47.8 cm
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This handsome sea chart covers the South Atlantic including the southwest tip of Africa, Tristan da Cunha, Ilha de Trinidade and Ilhas de Martin Vaz. The chart, beautifully engraved by Antonio Lucini, is embellished with a title cartouche, large compass rose, two sailing ships and graceful calligraphy. Two sheets, joined as issued. This is the first state.

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 #131.

Condition: B+

A dark impression on sturdy sheets with the watermarks of a small hive and a medallion. There is light printer's ink residue, a few minor spots, and the joint is loose in several spots. Two ink stains appear along the top edge of the sheet, well away from the image.

Estimate: $1,200 - $1,500

Sold for: $950

Closed on 11/17/2021