Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 721

Dudley's Rare Chart of the East Indies

"Carta Particolare del' Isole di Iava Maggre e Minore con la Parte Austle. del Isole di Sumatra e Burneo...", Dudley, Robert (Sir)

Subject: East Indies - Western Indonesia

Period: 1646 (published)

Publication: Arcano del Mare...

Color: Hand Color

29.6 x 18.8 inches
75.2 x 47.8 cm
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This remarkable sea chart focuses on Java, southern Sumatra, southern Borneo, Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa. These islands were the epicenter of the region controlled by the Dutch East India Company at the time. Numerous small islands are depicts and there is good detail of the sand banks, rocks, reefs, and depth soundings in the waters, noting cities and river inlets along the coastlines. The chart is elegantly engraved with fine calligraphy, a bold title cartouche, a sailing ship, and a compass rose by the Florentine craftsman Arnoldo Lucini. 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 (Lucini) 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 #104.

Condition: A

A sharp impression on bright sheets with the watermarks of mountains and a sun. There is a bit of printer's ink residue and minor toning along the joint.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,600

Closed on 11/15/2023