[Scarce sea chart of Southern Africa]
Carta seconda Generale d'Affrica. Florence, Francesco Onofri, 1661. 475 x 380mm.
A rare sea chart of southern Africa, published in Sir Robert Dudley's monumental atlas, 'Dell'Arcano del Mare' (Secrets of the Sea). It shows Ascension Island in the top left, Tristan da Cuhna bottom left, Madagascar and the Comoros Islands top right. An inset continues the east coast up to the Horn of Africa, marking Monbasa, Zanzibar and the Amirante Islands. The Arcano was the first English sea-atlas to be printed (albeit engraved and published in Italy), breaking the Dutch monopoly of such publications. As a friend of Drake and brother-in-law of Thomas Cavendish he had enviable access to the latest information. The 130 charts are all original works, not copied from existing maps The engraver Antonio Francesco Lucini wrote in the introduction to the second edition that he worked for 12 years on the copper plates, which weighed 5000 lbs. His clear style of engraving, with florid script, make the Dudley charts instantly recognisable. Dudley (1574-1649) was the son of the Earl of Leicester, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, and was born in secret to avoid her jealousy. Well educated, he joined the Elizabethan maritime adventurers and let an expedition to the Orinoco in 1594, raiding Trinidad en route, and was knighted for his role in the attack on Cadiz in 1596. In 1588 he had inheirited his father's property (including Kenilworth Castle, but after failing to prove his legitimacy in 1605 he left England for Italy. and forfeited all property after illegally assuming the title of Earl of Warwick. He died in 1649, two years after the first edition of the 'Arcano'.
[Ref: 11557] £3,600.00 ($5,425 • €4,205 rates)