THE FIRST PRINTED SEA CHART OF THE SOUTH EAST UNITED STATES

 

$32,000

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AUTHOR:

DUDLEY, SIR ROBERT

TITLE:

Carta particicolare della costa di Florida e di Virginia... From the Arcano del Mare

CONDITION:

18-1/2” x 15”. Black and white copper-engraving. A fine example.

DATE:

Florence, [1647-] 1661

DESCRIPTION:

This is the first printed chart of the southeastern coast of the United States. Using Mercator’s Projection for the first time, it is also the first of the region to record prevailing winds and ocean currents. The chart shows the Atlantic coast from the Delaware Bay south to Cape Canaveral in Florida. The Chesapeake Bay is shown to its most northern reaches, with the two English settlements of Jamestown and “Newtforte” opposite each other on the James River (”R. Powhatan”). The geography is largely taken from the maps of John White (1590) and John Smith (1612). There are a number of Indian place names given for The Chesapeake and the Outer Banks, but for regions further south, Dudley used Spanish sources in part, and the place names are in that language.

Sir Robert Dudley's
Arcano del Mare was the first sea atlas by an Englishman, and the first with all the charts on Mercator's Projection, a practical aide to navigation. The charts are masterpieces of Baroque engraving. They are the work of Antonio Lucini, a student of Jacques Callot, one of the masters of seventeenth century print making, and took five years to prepare.

Dudley was the son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the paramour of Queen Elizabeth I. His desire to marry the Queen led the elder Dudley to have his marriage declared invalid, and his children declared illegitimate. As a result, the younger Dudley went into self-imposed exile, first at sea, where he sailed to South America with Sir Walter Raleigh, then in Italy, where he became a leading figure at the Florentine court of the Medicis.

REFERENCES:

Burden, The Mapping of North America, I, 280; Cumming, The Southeast in Early Maps, 45, plate 28.

Inventory No. 8663

Cohen & Taliaferro

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