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Front cover: item 19 (detail) Back cover: item 4 (detail)

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Monday - Friday: 10.00 - 18.00 Saturday: 10.00 - 16.00 Catalogue Compiled by Massimo De Martini and Miles Baynton-Williams

Each item is in good condition unless otherwise noted in the description, allowing for the usual minor imperfections. Measurements are expressed in millimeters and are taken to the plate-mark unless stated, height by width. (100 mm = approx. 4 inches)

Who Knows What?

Our latest mini-catalogue features a selection of maps published over aspan of 400 years, which show not only some of the more unusual cartographical features to appear, but also the voids in knowledge that explorers like Cook ventured into.

Our latest mini-catalogue features a selection of maps published over aspan of 400 years, which show not only some of the more unusual cartographical features to appear, but also the voids in knowledge that explorers like Cook ventured into. An incunable view of England

1. SCHEDEL, D. Hartmann. Anglia. Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 1493, Latin text edition. Woodcut, image 200 x 225mm, set in a page of text with contemporary rubrication.


A view representing England from the famous 'Nuremberg Chronicle', showing a hill-side city with a series of gates leading up to a citadel, one of two woodcuts used for England in the work. It is unlikely that there was an available prospect of London, so a generic town view was used, bearing little resemblance to anywhere in the British Isles. On the reverse is a similarly-fantastical view of Spain. The Latin text is also prone to errors: the Latin text refers to the 'Island of Scotland'. SHIRLEY: 6a.2, '[the two woodcuts] are masterful examples of the medieval woodcutter's skill.' S/N 13445

A reduced copy of Mercator's famous map of the Arctic Circle

2. CLOPPENBURG, Johannes. Septentrionalium Terrarum Descriptio. Amsterdam, 1632, Latin text edition. Coloured. 190 x 260mm. Worm hole in right edge margin filled.


A scarce reduced version of Mercator's map of the Arctic Circle, with four roundel insets, containing three maps (the Shetlands, the mythical island of Frisland and the Faroes) and the title. On the map an island in the Anian Straits is marked as the magnetic pole. The map was issued in Cloppenburg's edition of Mercator's 'Atlas Minor', with maps engraved in slightly larger format by Pieter van den Keere. First published in 1630, there was a third edition in 1636 before a hiatus until an edition in 1673, suggesting the plates were supressed. BURDEN: 225, first state of three. S/N 17984

The developing outline of Tierra del Fuego 3. HONDIUS, Henricus. Freti Magellanici ac novi Freti vulgo Le Maire exactissima delineatio. Amsterdam: Jan Jansson, 1649. 390 x 496mm. Very fine example.


A sea chart of the Magellan Strait, the Le Maire Strait, Cape Horn and the uncertain western coastline of Tierra Del Fuego. The details of the Magellan Strait have been updated according to Barent Janzoon Potgieter, surgeon on Sebald de Weert's ship 'Blijde Boodschap', part of a disastrous Dutch attempt at circumnavigation led Jacques Mahu, 1598. Although 'Blijde Boodschap' never reached Asia, it was the only ship (of five) to return home. Potgeiter's account of their torments in the Magellan Strait, published 1600, contained influential images of giant Patagonian natives (here referenced in text) and penguins (illustrated here, named 'Pingnini Aves'). Further south is the Le Maire Strait and Cape Horn, discovered by Jacob Le Maire and Willem Schouten in 1616 in the 'Eendracht', thus proving that Tierra del Fuego was not part of the Great Southern Continent. KOEMAN: Me 136a. S/N 13735

Dudley's rare sea chart of Iceland, with the mythical island of Frisland 4. DUDLEY, Robert. Carta particolare dell'Isole di Islandia è Frislandia, con l'Isolette di Faré. La longitudine cimincia da l'Isla di Pico d'Arores. di Europa Carta XXXXX. Florence: Francesco Onofri, 1646-7. 485 x 760mm.


A spectacular sea-chart of Iceland, engraved in Antonio Francesco Lucini's unique style for Dudley's 'Dell'Arcano del Mare' (Secrets of the Sea), an encyclopaedia of maritime knowledge. All the detail of Iceland is coastal apart from the vignette of the volcano Hekla erupting. To the south west is what must be the largest depiction of the mythical island of Frisland (16cm north to south), with over 50 names! The 'Arcano' was the first sea-atlas by an Englishman to be printed (albeit engraved and published in Italy), breaking the Dutch monopoly of such publications. The engraver Lucini wrote in the introduction to the second edition that he worked for 12 years on the copper plates, which weighed 5000 lbs. Dudley 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. After failing to prove his parents married, which would allow him to assume his father's titles, he left England for Italy in 1605. There he assumed the titles of 'Earl of Warwick and Leicester' and 'Duke of Northumberland' in 1620, which caused James I to seize all Dudley's English properties. He died in 1649, two years after the first edition of the 'Arcano'. S/N 17271

17th century map of the Mogul Empire

5. SANSON, Nicolas. L'Inde deca et dela le Gange, ou est L'Empire du Grand Mogol Et Pays Circonvoisins Tiree de Purchas... Paris. 1654. Coloured. 355 x 560mm.


A detailed map of the Mogul Empire, based on information supplied by Sir Thomas Roe (c.1581-1644), ambassador to the emperor Jahangir 1615-18. At a time that roads were not usually shown on maps, this marks his route to the court as a line of villages from Surat to Kabul in Afghanistan. His route was a southern spur of the Silk Road, making this one of the few contemporary maps to include such information. S/N 17086

First state of Doncker's chart of California as an island

6. DONCKER, Hendrik. Pascaart vertoonende de Zeecusten van Chile, Peru, Hispania Nova, Nova Granada, en California. Amsterdam, 1659. Original colour with later additions, with gold highlights. 435 x 540mm. A fine example.


The first state of this impressive chart of the west coast of America, which was updated the following year to show the Caribbean coast of Central America. Orientated with north to the left, it shows from a promontory called 'Aguebela de Cato' just north of California south to near Arica in Chile. However it is for its representation of California that this chart is so important, as it 'depicts California as an island on a larger scale than any earlier sea chart' (Burden). Insets show two other great cartographical mysteries: the partial outline of Tasmania, according to Tasman; and the mythical island of Yedso to the north of Japan. A third insert shows the islands around the Ladrones. See KOEMAN Don 2 for the first atlas issue, in 'De Zee Atlas Of Water-Waerelt...' S/N 11230

Guiana, with Sir Walter Raleigh's El Dorado

7. MONTANUS, Arnoldus. Guiana sive Amazonum Regio. London: John Ogilby, 1671. Coloured. 285 x 365mm. A map of Guiana with elaborate cartouches for the title and scale, based on the account of Sir Walter Raleigh in his search for 'El Dorado', the legendary city of gold. The map shows a large lake, 'Parime Lacus', with 'Manoa or El Dorado' on the western shore. This example comes from Ogilby's 'America', an English edition of Montanus' 'De Nieuwe En Onbekende Weereld', published the same year by Meurs. S/N 8755


A sea chart of the unknown north east Asia

8. KEULEN, Johannes van. Pascaarte vande Noord Oost Cust van Asia Verthoonende in sich all de Zee-custen van Tartarien, Van Japan tot NovaZemla alles op Wassende graaden gelaght. Amsterdam: Van Keulen, c.1680. Old colour. 520 x 590mm. Narrow top margin due to the height of the plate.


One of the first sea charts of north-east Asia, illustrating how little was known of the region. It shows from Novaya Zemlya in northern Russia, along the coast of Siberia (with few promontories and one one large island) past the mythical 'Land of Ezo' and 'Companies Land' to Japan, Korea and Zhoushan in China. There are no signs of Hokkaido, Sakhalin, Kamchatka or the Bering Strait, as the chart predates the explorations of Vitus Bering by nearly fifty years and James Cook by nearly a century. S/N 17979

A pair of 17th Century globe gores showing Australia

9. CORONELLI, Vincenzo Maria. [Two gore sheets from an 47cm diameter terrestrial globe, showing central and eastern Australia, dedicated to William III.] Venice, 1697. Two plates, each (at most) 125 x 335mm. Faint double image.


Two globe gores, designed to be pasted onto a globe 46cm (18") in diameter. The left sheet shows central Australia with a vignette of natives hunting whales with spears; the right sheet show western Carpentaria and Tasmania, with the coast of New South Wales left blank, being unknown to Europeans for another 70 years. A wreath contains a dedication to William III, king of Great Britain, dated 1696. The sheets were published in Coronelli's very scarce 'Libro dei Globi', a collection of gore sheets of globes of different sizes. S/N 17936

A fine early sea chart of Japan, with the 'island' of Korea

10. JANSSON, Jan. Nova et Accurata Iaponiæ, Terræ Esonis, ac Insularum adjacentium. Amsterdam: Schenk & Valk, c.1700. Original colour. 450 x 550mm, wide margins.


A re-issue of Jansson's chart of Japan of 1658, with body colour rather than the original outline. The map also shows the 'island' of Korea, and the semi-mythical islands of 'Eso' & 'Companies Land', making the contents more myth than reality. It is interesting that this map differs markedly from Blaeu's map of 1655. Blaeu had used the cartography of Martino Martini (with Korea back on the mainland), while Jansson prefered the work of Maerten Gerritsz Vries. Jansson had first used his work in a pocket map in 1648: it was very unusual for a publisher to publish important new cartographical information in small format first. HUBBARD: 30, state ii of ii; WALTER: 57 (for first state). S/N 17524

'Frobisher's Strait'

11. MORTIER, Pieter. Carte Particuliere de L'Amerique Septentrionale ou sont Compris Le Destroit de Davids, Le Destroit de Hudson, &c. Amsterdam, c.1705. Original colour. Two sheets conjoined, total 590 x 830mm. Very fine condition.


A large chart showing from the west coast of Ireland, Iceland, Greenland and the bays of Arctic America. The abundance of English placenames is a testament to their efforts to find the North West Passage, hoping to reach the East Indies without having to pass the French and Spaniards! Of interest are the pair of channels traversing the tip of Greenland, the upper one called 'Destroit de M. Vorbischer' (Strait of Martin Frobisher). These appear as a consequence of the Zeno hoax of 1558, which put the mythical island of Frisland on most maps of the period. Martin Frobisher (1535-94) sailed across the Atlantic in 1576 to look for the North West Passage: he landed on Greenland but thought it to be the nonexistent Frisland shown on his charts. When he sailed on and touched land he thought he had arrived in Greenland when in fact he was at what is now Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Entering the bay he believed he had discovered a strait on Greenland, and even two more voyages (1577 & 1578) did nothing to make him doubt himself. Over a century later this chart was published with his mistake still included. Frobisher did not have much luck: he also mistook iron pyrite for gold-bearing ore and a narwhal corpse for a unicorn. Fortunately his career as an English privateer was more successful and his service during the Spanish Armada of 1588 earned him a knighthood. This chart was published in Mortier's issue of Jaillot's 'Atlas Nouveau', although it also appeared in Mortier's 'Neptune Francois' sea-atlas. KOEMAN: Mor 1. S/N 8709

Celestial chart of Tycho Brahe's theories of the Universe

12. CELLARIUS, Andreas. Planisphaerium Braheum, sive structura Mundi Totius, ex hypothesi Tychonis Brahei in plano delineata. Amsterdam, Schenk & Valk, 1708. Original colour with additions, including gold highlights. 440 x 515mm.


A beautiful celestial chart depicting the 'planisphere of Brahe, or the structure of the universe following the hypothesis of Tycho Brahe drawn in a planar view'. The Danish Astronomer Tycho Brahe posited a Solar System merging the theories of Ptolemy and Copenicus, so that the Sun revolved around the earth, but the planets were bound to the Sun. Jupiter is shown with four moons. In the borders the title banners are held up by putti, and portraits of Brahe at his Hven observatory bottom right and probably Ptolemy bottom left. This chart was published in the 'Atlas Coelestis; seu Harmonia Macrocosmica', the only celestial atlas to be produced in the Netherlands before the nineteenth century. It was a compilation of maps of the Ptolemaic universe and the more modern theories of Copernicus and Brahe, and remains the finest and most highly decorative celestial atlas ever produced. It was originally published by Jan Jansson in 1660: this chart comes from Schenk & Valk's reissue. KOEMAN: Cel 3. S/N 13526

Fine sea chart of the Pacific, with California as an Island

13. DE WIT, Frederick. Magnum Mare del Zur cum Insula California. Amsterdam: Louis Renard, 1715. Original colour. 500 x 550mm. A very fine example


A sea chart of the Pacific, filled with some of the most famous cartographic misconceptions. California is an island; the northern coastline of Australia is shown, joined by the Cape York Peninsula to New Guinea; Tasmania is a long way away from any other coastline; the partial coastline of New Zealand is marked; and to the north of Japan are both 'Ezo' and 'Compagnies lant', semi-mythical islands. A highly decorative title cartouche fills the bottom right corner, depicting Neptune in a chariot and a medallion portrait of Magellan. First published in the 'Orbis Maritimus ofte Zee Atlas' in 1675, this example comes from Renard's 'Atlas de la Navigation'. Instead of being just a re-issue of obsolete plates, Renard updated the charts with new information: here the shape of Tasmania has been altered, with the names changed. Koeman concludes 'that the atlas was intended for use at sea and not only for the consultation on shore'. McLAUGHLIN: 188; KOEMAN: Ren 1. S/N 17947

An English world map after the Longitude Act

14. SENEX, John. A New Map of the World From the Latest Observations. Revis'd by I.Senex. Most humbly Inscribd to his Royal Highness George Prince of Wales. London, c.1720. Original outline colour with additions to the borders. 430 x 550mm.


A double-hemisphere map of the world with four further spheres on different projections, an armillary sphere flanked by two figures (one being Hercules) and allegorical figures of the four continents around the title. On the map California is an island (although not on two of the smaller spheres), 'Jesso' is joined to mainland Asia, and Australia is joined to New Guinea via Carpentaria. Unusual features on this map are the faint outlines offering alternative coastlines around the countries furthest from Europe. The Longitude Act of 1714, in which a prize of ÂŁ20,000 was offered for an accurate method of measuring longitude at sea, highlighted the fact that the exact locations of countries on the other side of the world had yet to be determined. This map displays an unusual admission of lack of certainty by a cartographer! Although this example is marked 'Revis'd' we have been unable to trace an earlier version. George was made Prince of Wales in 1714, and came to the throne of England in 1727 as George II. S/N 17577

The pre-Cook outline of Australia

15. BELLIN, Jacques-Nicolas. Carte Réduite des Terres Australes. Paris, 1753. Coloured. 215 x 285mm.


Published less than twenty years before Cook's First Circumnavigation, this map is one of the few 18th century maps devoted to Australia. It shows how little was known about the eastern half of the continent 150 years after discovery: Bellin has hatchured an unbroken coastline between Tasmania, Espiritu Santo and New Guinea, but adds a note that he supposes those lands are joined, 'mais sans preuves' (without proof). To the west Tasmania is joined to Nuytsland by another coastline marked 'conjecturale'. To the east is the partial outline of New Zealand. S/N 16944

A pre-Cook chart of the South Pacific 16. Dépôt des Cartes et Plans de la Marine. Carte Reduite Des Mers Comprises Entre l'Asie et l'Amerique Apelées par les Navigateurs. Mer du Sud ou Mer Pacificque.. Paris, 1742-56. Coloured. 590 x 830mm.

£1850 A large and detailed chart of the South Pacific, originally published in 1742 but here updated to 1756. Published nearly 15 years before Cook's first circumnavigation, it only shows partial coastlines for Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. It also omits Hawaii, discovered by Cook in 1778, during his Third and last voyage around the world. The chart is decorated with a fine rococo cartouche. S/N 16921

18th century Russian discoveries in the North Pacific

17. MĂœLLER, Gerhard Friedrich. Nouvelle Carte des Decouvertes faites par des Vaisseaux Russiens aux cotes inconnues de l'Amerique Septentrionale Avec les Pais Adiacentes. St Petersburg: Academy of Sciences, 1773. Folding map, dissected and laid on linen, 505 x 690mm. A map charting the Russian explorations in the North Pacific published just a few years before the Captain Cook's Third Voyage took him to the Bering Strait. The Asian coastline has taken some shape, with Kamchatka recognisable, but neither Hokkaido or Sakhalin delineated. The American West Coast has few details, with no recognisable Alaska, but Mount St Elias is shown, as are the landing points of the Russian explorers Bering and Chirikov, Drake's New Albion, and a North West Passage from Hudson's Bay. S/N 12496


The phantom island of 'Bermuda'

18. ZATTA, Antonio. Le Colonie Unite dell’ America Settentr.le di Nouva Projezione...; Le Isole Bermuda. Venice, 1778. Original colour. 325 x 435mm. A very fine example.


The title-sheet of a twelve-sheet map of the United States, with Bermuda shown on a trompe-l'oil scroll. Bermuda has an interesting cartographic error. The first authoritative map of Bermuda was compiled by Norwood in 1622 and published by John Speed in 1627. Behind the main map Norwood superimposed the coastline of New England and Virginia to show the relative position of Bermuda. Although Zatta has dropped this mainland from his map he has retained the small Bermuda, mistaking it for another island in the chain. This confirms that Zatta's source for this map wasover 150 years old! PALMER: Printed maps of Bermuda, p.26, plate xxxi. S/N 16570

'No body knows what' in New Zealand 19. ROBERTS, Henry. Sketch of Dusky Bay in New Zealand; 1773. London: Strahan & Cadell, 1777. 225 x 380mm. Narrow lateral margins as issued.


Chart of Resolution Harbour and Dusky Sound, on the south west of the South Island, New Zealand, drawn by Lieut. Henry Roberts (1756-796), who served with Cook on his Second and Third Voyages. Cook named Dusky Bay on his first voyage (1768-71), and returned there on his second (1772-5), spending two months exploring the fjord, planning its use as a harbour. Many of the names are still used, including Resolution Island and the unimaginative First, Second and Third Coves in Breakwater Sound. However there was a limit to their knowledge: below Third Sound is an 'Apparent Island' and, beneath that, a bay marked 'No body knows what'. In 1791 George Vancouver, who had started his naval career as a midshipman on Cook's Second Voyage alongside Roberts, returned to Dusky Sound for re-provisioning en route to the American North West. Exploring the Sound further he reached the end of the southern bay: he could not resist adding to his map 'Somebody knows what', a joke that carried over to the published version. S/N 17124

The first appearance of the infamous 'Mountains of Kong' 20. RENNELL, James. A Map shewing the Progress of Discovery & Improvement, in the Geography of North Africa. London: James Rennell, 1798. Some original outline colour. 430 x 725mm. Bottom right edge trimmed for binding, new margin added. ÂŁ550 A map of North Africa compiled by James Rennell to illustrate his appendix to Mungo Park's 'Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa', the account of Park's search for the source of the River Niger. Under the patronage of Sir Joseph Banks and the African Association, Park travelled to Africa to seek the source of the River Niger (1795-7). His expedition was delayed by captivity and illness (he spent seven months convalescing in a man's home), and he was believed dead when he returned to Britain. Because Park had little experience as a cartographer, the job of compiling the maps for the official account fell to Major James Rennell (1742-1830), former cartographer to the East India Company in Bengal. He too had fallen foul of locals and had to retire from active service because of the wounds he had received. He became a research cartographer, pioneering oceanography. He used a variety of sources to compile this map and in doing so made his greatest cartographic error: he extrapolated a single mountain seen by Park into a huge range, creating the 'Mountains of Kong', running across West Africa. Such was Rennell's reputation that his theory was instantly accepted and the 'Mountains of Kong' blighted maps of Africa for most of the nineteenth century and occasionally beyond. S/N 14252

Altea Gallery e-Catalogue 4: No body knows what  

A selection of twenty antiquarian maps with odd features