Catalog Archive
Auction 185, Lot 692

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: Hand Color

20.3 x 15.5 inches
51.6 x 39.4 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

An excellent impression printed on sturdy paper with a Strasbourg bend and lily watermark and light toning along the edges of the sheet.

Estimate: $4,000 - $5,000

Sold for: $3,000

Closed on 11/17/2021