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Antique Maps of the Oceans & Islands

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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

Robert Morden. "The Isles of Azores." London: 17th century. 4 1/2 x 5 1/4 (plate mark). Engraving. English text. Very good condition. $85

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

John Thomson. "Chart of the North and Baltic Seas &c." with insets at top: "Harbour of Heligoland," "Port of Revel" and "Harbour of St. Petersburg." From A New General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Thomson, 1816. 19 x 23 3/8. Engraving by Neele. Full original hand color. Full margins. Some minor staining at center fold and in margins. Otherwise, very good condition.

One of a striking series of maps showing in large scale and great detail the southern reaches of the North and Baltic Seas. Thomson's maps are particularly noted for their exacting details and very strong images. Towns are carefully named and much attention is given to geographical detail. The delicate hand coloring highlights the information given, making the map both easier to read and pleasing to look at. A fine example of early 19th-century British cartography. $175

"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

James Wyld. "The Atlantic Steam Packet Chart shewing the Line of Communication with North America and the West Indies." London: John Wyld, 1840-46. Separately issued, folding map: dissected into 21 sections and mounted on linen. 22 x 32 1/2. Lithograph. Two penciled ships' courses drawn. Some finger browning and surface smudging. A few sections slightly lifting. Overall, good condition.

An exceedingly detailed sea chart of the Atlantic Ocean showing from Labrador to French Guyana in the Americas and from England to the Bight of Benin in Africa. Hundreds of ports are designated and some of the archipelagos have population statistics attached. Comparative miles for established sea routes are given. In the United States, not only are the navigable rivers shown, but also the network of canals that link the navigable waterways. A fine picture of the Atlantic world. $175

"Chart of the Baltic from Admiralty & Russian Surveys." with insets: "Cronstadt and St. Petersburg," "Sveaborg," "Port Baltic," "Chart of Reval" and "Riga." From New Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: Charles Desilver, 1856. 15 x 24. Lithograph. Original hand color. Decorative border. Minor blemishes at center fold. Overall, very good condition.

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. This map is of particular note for the many navigational routes shown, as well as a fine decorative border. $125

"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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