Catalog Archive
Auction 196, Lot 659

Rare Cartes-a-Figures Map of Africa

"Africa Nova Tabula", Picart, Nicolas

Subject: Africa

Period: 1659 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

21.7 x 16.1 inches
55.1 x 40.9 cm
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Picart's map of Africa is an exact copy of Jodocus Hondius Jr.'s 1623 map of Africa, in its fourth state of 1632. The cartes-a-figures borders appear on three sides, with six city views along the top and ten examples of local inhabitants along the sides. The geography is largely speculative and follows Blaeu's map of 1617 with the Cuama River originating in the mountains rather than in the Sachaf Lake below the Mountains of the Moon (Lunae Montes). The origin of the Nile conforms to the Ptolemaic tradition of the two twin lakes south of the equator. The Kingdom of Monomotapa occupies a large area of southern Africa. Ornamentation includes a wreath-style title cartouche, sailing ships, flying fish, and various sea monsters. Elephants, lions, zebras, ostriches, and even a dragon occupy the interior. In the first state of this map, Picart's imprint appeared on a second cartouche at bottom, again taken from the Hondius map of 1623, and similar to the cartouche on Van den Keere's map of Africa from 1614, featuring a clock with a skull. This is the second state, with Picart's imprint erased from lower cartouche and "Fol. 611" added at top left. Picart's map is considered quite rare.

References: Betz #73.2.

Condition: B+

A good impression with some printer's ink residue, an archival repair to a small abrasion in southern Africa, and a long tear that enters 10" into the image at right that has been expertly and almost invisibly repaired. There are remnants of paper tape along the sheet edges on verso from a previous framing.

Estimate: $2,750 - $3,500

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 2/7/2024