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Antique Maps of the Oceans & Islands

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Munster North Sea
After Abraham Ortelius. "Gemeine Beschreibung Aller Mitnachtigen Lander alsz Schweden Gothen Norwegien Dennmarck &c." From Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia. Basle: Sebastian Petri, [1588]. 12 1/4 x 14 1/4. Woodcut. Full margins. Very good condition. German text. Denver.

An unusual map of the northern Atlantic and Scandinavia filled with non-existent lands and islands. The main source of this mythical geography is the "Zeno map," one of the most interesting maps from the sixteenth century, which was based upon the alleged explorations of Nicolo and Antonio Zeno, whose journal was published by their descendant Nicolo Zeno in 1558. The voyage was supposed to have taken place in 1380, with the Zeno brothers going to the islands of Frisland, Greenland and Icaria. On their travels, they heard of lands one thousand miles to the west; Estotiland and Drogio. These latter lands the Zenos did not visit themselves, but they heard fishermen's tales which included descriptions of natives sounding much like American Indians and of visits by other Europeans. This journal is now generally accepted as a fabrication, but many have tried to fit the Zeno account to actual geography. Whatever its history, the account and its accompanying map were very influential on the mapping of the North Atlantic.

This map was introduced to Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia by Sebastian Petri in 1588, replacing an early map of the same region. It is based upon Abraham Ortelius' map first issued in 1573. The non-existent islands of Frisland and Icaria are shown near Iceland, and further west Estotiland is shown as a part of North America. Other mythical features abound, including the islands of St. Brendan, Brazil, Verde, and Groclandt. Whatever its link to reality, this is a graphic image of Renaissance cartography and legend; a truly fabulous map. (Nordenskiold; p. 52ff.) $1,400



Hondius Bermuda
Henricus Hondius. "Mappa Aestivarum Insularum, alias Barmudas." Amsterdam: H. Hondius, 1633-36. 15 1/2 x 20 1/4. Engraving. Original outline color. Full margins. Excellent condition. French text on verso. Ref.: Koeman, Me50A: 307.

Hondius' version of the classic map of Bermuda, one of the most beautiful maps ever produced. A large scale rendering of the island fills the center of the map, marked out with the eight 'tribes.' The lots within each tribe are also marked and a key at the bottom indicates the individual landowners. This island in large is set against a depiction of the island in relation to the American coast on a much smaller scale, thus giving a picture of the island's relative position to go with the internal detail. Embellishments include three cartouches, two crests and numerous radiating rhumb lines. Beautiful and fascinating, a much sought after map. $3,200



Blaeu Iceland
Willem Blaeu after Juris Carolus. "Tabula Islandiae." Amsterdam: Joan Blaeu, 1672+. 15 x 19 1/2. Engraving. Full original hand color. Wide margins. Very good condition. Spanish text on verso. Koeman: 1250:2:2.

A fascinating and wonderfully decorative map of Iceland by Willem (Guilielmus) Janszoon Blaeu based on the work of Juris Carolus. The maps issued by the Blaeu firm are known for their fine craftsmanship and design, and have been called "the highest expression of Dutch cartographical art." It was based by Blaeu upon a map made by Joris Carolus, a Dutch traveler who probably drew his map in the 1620s. Carolus based his rendering on Iceland Bishop Gudbrandur Thorlaksson's map drawn originally in the late sixteenth century. Carolus updated his map and it remained the standard map of Iceland for much of the seventeenth century. Versions were issued by several publishers and this example, by Blaeu, is probably the most desirable of them all. $1,400



Coronelli Mare del Sud
Vincenzo Coronelli. "Mare Del Sud, detto altrimenti Mare Pacifico." From Atlante Veneto. Venice, 1690. Engraving. 17 3/4 x 23 7/8. Some very light stains in top corners. Overall, very good condition.

Father Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was an Italian Franciscan who was noted in his own time for producing the finest globes, including a pair of fifteen foot globes for Louis XIV in 1683. Besides his skill in globe making, Coronelli was one of the greatest mapmakers of the late seventeenth century. Appointed as Cosmographer to the Venetian Republic, and founder of the first geographical society, Coronelli was a recognized master of cartography. Coronelli spent a great deal of his time on cartographic research, and had access to privileged information from French Jesuit missionaries and from his own Franciscan order. This information allowed him to produce the fine body of work, incorporating the most up-to-date information. But besides his accurate geography, Coronelli's maps are exquisite examples of the finest engraving and map illustration of the early days of cartography. The engraving is strong and precise, and Coronelli includes a wonderful title cartouche in the upper right corner, complete with mer-putti and a cornucopia of pearls and other sea objects. More than this, however, Coronelli's maps are geographically fascinating, as is well evidenced in this excellent map.

This map shows the western coast of the Americas, including a nice example of the famous cartographic myth of California as an island. To the west of this is the large, vaguely drawn "Terra De Iesso," reflecting the current unknown state of the lands to the north of Japan and west of America. Coronelli shows the 1615-1617 route of Jacob Lemaire round Cape Horn and west across the Pacific. Lemaire was the first to sail south of Tierra del Fuego, proving that it was not part of the great, unknown Southern Continent. The map is particularly interesting for its early and important depiction of Australia and New Zealand. Part of Australia, including "Nuova Hollanda" in the north and "Terra D'Antonio Diemens" (Tasmania) in the south are indicated, as is part of the western coast of New Zealand. Not realizing New Zealand's insular nature, Coronelli connects this coastline with an eastern coast, "not yet well know" which runs off towards Tierra del Fuego-part of that hypothetical southern continent. One of the landmarks maps of the region by one of the great cartographers of the seventeenth century. $2,900



Mare del Nord
Vincenzo Coronelli. "Mare Del Nord." From Atlante Veneto. Venice, 1690. Engraving. 17 1/2 x 23 7/8. Some weak spots in paper and remnants of old stain. Overall, very good condition.

Another fine map by Coronelli (1650-1718), which shows the Atlantic Ocean and the coasts around, including western Europe and Africa, the northern part of South America, and the eastern coast of North America. Details along the coast include rivers, bays, lakes, and some political information including the early colonies of North America. Typically of Coronelli's maps, the map is as decorative as it is historic. In the upper left corner is a superb title cartouche that adds a crowning touch to this fine map. $2,200



Jacques Nicolas Bellin. "Carte de l'Ocean Occidental et Partie de l'Amérique Septentrionale." From Charlevoix's Journal D'un Voyage Fair Par Ordre Du Roi dans L'Amerique Septentrionale.. Paris: Nyon Fils, 1744. 9 5/8 x 14 3/4. Engraving. Excellent good condition.

Pierre Francois Xavier Charlevoix was a French Jesuit historian and traveler who had spent four years from 1705 teaching in Quebec. A decade later he was sent to Canada to look into the border of Arcadia, a subject of dispute between the French and English, as well as to explore for passages to the Pacific. Charlevoix ascended the St. Lawrence, then descended the Mississippi, and finally returned to France by way of Santo Domingo. The journal of his voyage was issued in 1744. It was one of the only accurate sources on the interior of North America and it included some fine maps by Jacques Nicolas Bellin. Bellin (1703-1772), Hydrographer to the King of France, was one of the best French cartographers of the period, when the French dominated the cartographic world. Using scientific principals and having access to first hand reports from the American interior, such as Charlevoix's, maps like Bellin's were the best of American from the late sixteenth century to the middle of the next. This map shows the eastern part of North America in situation across the Atlantic from Europe. Charlevoix's route is indicated and quite accurate information is included of the interior rivers, lakes and mountains in North America. $350



Indian Ocean
J.B.N.D. Après de Mannevillette. "Carte Réduite de l'Océan Orientale depuis le Cap de Bonne Espérance jusqu'à l'Isle Formosa . . . " Paris: 1775. 19 1/4 x 27 (neat lines) plus full margins. Engraving. Some contemporary manuscript notes and a few small spots. Fine impression.

A large and detailed sea chart depicting the Indian Ocean from the horn of Africa and the Red Sea in the West to China, Formosa, the Philippines, New Guinea and Australia to the East. The Mercator projection allows the southern extremities to appear blank; however, the northern reach is to the tops of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, then to India, Southeast Asia and China. This chart was drawn at a time when England and France were expanding their influence on this part of the world as Holland, Spain and Portugal were retreating and Italy and its neighbors were pulling back from the Silk Road.

Here is a very sophisticated sea chart by Jean Baptiste Nicholas Denis d'Apres de Mannevillette (1707-1780) who made this for his Supplément au Neptune Oriental ou Routier Général des Côtes des Indes Orientales (Paris, 1781). A prominent map maker, he had published maps in his Le Neptune Oriental as early as 1745, which were repeatedly revised for the next 40 years. $850



Emanuel Bowen. "A New and Accurate Chart of the vast Atlantic or Western Ocean, including the Sea Coast of Europe and Africa on the East and the opposite Coast of the Continent of America and the West Indies Islands on the West extending from the Equator to 59 Degrees North Latitude." Line engraving. London: Mount & Page, 1778. 23 1/4 x 30 1/2 (neatlines) plus complete margins. National Maritime Museum Catalogue of the Library, p. 490. Excellent.

For over a hundred years the atlas known as The English Pilot continued to be published amid complaints from seamen that it was out of date. Changes were slow to appear even as Mount & Page took over from John Seller who had started it in 1671. Despite complaints, the charts continued to sell because they were inexpensive, and captains of small packets or other trading vessels could not afford better. This chart of the entire Atlantic Ocean exhibits the primitive look of the old English Pilot format, but it contains the improvements introduced by Edmund Halley earlier in the eighteenth century. Emanuel Bowen prepared this chart for Mount & Page, and it is first found in an atlas of 1778, probably to meet the demands of cross ocean travel during the American Revolution. Known as The Fourth Book, the American edition went through fourteen editions between 1689 and 1789, so this is one of the later maps. Comparing it to works by William Faden, Sayer & Bennett, or J.F.W. DesBarres would illustrate why not many were produced, fewer were sold, and many would have been lost with the poorer ships that carried them. Still, this is a dramatic sea chart with its strong rhumb lines and profuse coastal information. This is the tool that would have guided ships with slaves from Africa, food stuffs from the Mediterranean, and hardware from western Europe. A scarce and wonderful index map to a major atlas. $1,500



Rigobert Bonne. "Carte des Isles Canaries, avec l'Isle de Madere, et Celle de Porto Santo." From Atlas de toutes les parties connues du Globe Terrestre. Paris, 1780. 12 5/8 x 8 1/4. Engraving by André. Very good condition.

Rigobert Bonne was the Royal Hydrographer of France and his charts were some of the best issued in the late eighteenth century. This chart shows the Canary Islands, along with two smaller islands to the north. Detail includes major coastal features, hints of interior topography, and the names of all the islands and their major settlements. A fine eighteenth century map. $100



Morse: South Pacific
Jedediah Morse. "Chart of the New Discoveries East of New Holland and New Guinea." From the London edition of Morse's The American Gazetteer reprinted from the Boston edition by J. Stockdale. London, 1798. 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 (neat lines) plus full margins. Drawn and engraved by J. Russell. Folds as issued. Excellent.

The voyages of James Cook and other European voyagers to the South Pacific at the end of the eighteenth century created much interest in the geography as information on islands were added and Australia was rapidly drawn to completion. This fine little map was to be found in text and reference books throughout the Western World. It delineates Cook's route in his voyage of 1769-1770. $125



Fielding Lucas, Jr. "Canary Ids." From A General Atlas. Baltimore: F. Lucas, Jr., 1823. 8 3/8 x 11 1/4. Folio. Engravings. Full original hand color. Full margins. Light spots, mostly in margins, else very good condition.

One example from a fine series of maps by Baltimore cartographer, Fielding Lucas, Jr. (1781-1854). Lucas appears to have become involved in the publishing and book trade while a resident of Philadelphia from 1798 to 1804, when he moved to Baltimore. In 1807 Lucas joined Conrad, Lucas & Co., and then in 1810 he set up his own business at 138 Market Street. There Lucas first became involved in cartographic publishing with his New and Elegant General Atlas of 1816. In the third decade of the nineteenth century, through his Philadelphia contacts, Lucas was one of the major contributors to Carey & Lea’s atlas of 1823. Concurrently with this involvement, Lucas brought out his own General Atlas, containing 104 maps of all parts of the world, engraved by B.T. Welch & Co. of Baltimore and Young & Delleker of Philadelphia. Lucas, during his 50 years of residence in Baltimore, established himself as a prominent citizen of that city, but it is for his important role in early American cartography that Lucas is best remembered. These maps are amongst his finest works, and they well demonstrate the quality that Lucas brought to this nascent industry. $80



"The Islands of New Zealand." London: Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK), 1833-40. 12 1/2 x 15 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition.

This wonderful English enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. They produced this map of New Zealand at an early stage in its history. Published just at the end of the era of transportation of convicts to Australia and near the beginning of the colonial development of the continent. The geographical and political information shown of this important period in the history of the nation is fascinating. $175



"The Pacific Ocean including Oceanica with its Several Divisions, Islands, Groups &c." Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1856. 12 3/4 x 15 3/4. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. With decorative border.

Charles Desilver, one of the many publishers working in Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century, issued an atlas of maps based on the famous Tanner-Mitchell-Cowperthwait series. Desilver used much the same information as originally drawn in the 1840s, but updated the maps with new information as it became available. This map is typical of the rather unusual and scarce Desilver atlas. Insets showing the Hawaiian Islands and a portion of the Antarctic coastline. An attractive and fascinating document of the Pacific Ocean and adjacent land masses. $75




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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated November 3, 2014