Dudley’s Sea Chart from Southern Baja California to South of Acapulco

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285. [MAP]. DUDLEY, Robert, Sir (self-styled Duke of Northumberland). Carta particolare della parte ocidentale dell nuoua Spagnia è della California. La longitudine Comincia da l’Isola di Pico d’Asores. D’America Carta XXXI. [below lower neat line at left] AF Lucini fece. [Florence: Francesco Onofri, 1646-1647]. Copper-engraved map on two joined sheets of laid paper, showing the Pacific Coast of Mexico from the southern part of Baja California (labelled “La California”) to south of Acapulco, good detail (coastal towns, harbors, islands), title cartouche with droll face, large decorative compass rose, ship at sea, soundings, exceptionally graceful calligraphy; plate mark: 48 x 75.8 cm; overall sheet size: 52 x 79 cm. Mild age-toning and light staining along margins and centerfold, overall very good.

      First state. The map appeared in Dudley’s Dell’ arcano del mare (1646-1647, Vol. III, Book 6), the first sea atlas of the entire world.Nordenskiöld 70:129. Phillips, Atlases 457:III:129. Shirley, Maps in the Atlases of the British Library: A Descriptive Catalogue, Dudley-1a, 144. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 352b (Wagner suggests that Dudley borrowed from John Daniell and other snarky characterizations, such as “Dudley’s usual penchant for invention,” “the most remarkable genius for invention ever displayed by a cartographer,” and observing: “Dudley was living in Florence during part of his life and the fact that Daniell’s maps are still in Florence is significant, to say the least.” More likely, Cavendish was used for the Pacific maps). For more on Dudley, see Burden 266, Lord Wardington, “Sir Robert Dudley” in The Book Collector, 52, Nos. 2-3, 2003, and preceding entry herein. The sea charts of Sir Robert Dudley represent a high point in the history of cartographic craftsmanship. For quality of engraving, and for nuance and refinement of design, decoration, and calligraphy, Dudley’s spectacular charts rank with the greatest achievements of seventeenth century Italian graphic art.

     Further on Dudley, eloquently written by Henry Taliaferro:

Dudley’s charts are totally unique. Visually as well as intellectually, they broke significant new ground. But they were never copied. They established no school of mapmaking; inspired no movement. Perhaps they were too unique; too advanced. Each chart is a black and white copper engraving. They were never colored, nor were they meant to be colored. Dudley wished his charts to be strong, with the bold but delicate quality of the engraved detail unclouded by the opaque color that characterizes the maps of his contemporaries. On each chart, the geographical detail is marvelously clear and direct. The ornamental elements...are among the most marvelous creations in the history of cartography. Thus each...chart represents not only a great advance for nautical cartography, but a classic example of seventeenth-century decorative art as well.


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,225.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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