Catalogue 32
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PORCACCHI, Thomaso. L'isole piu famose del Mondo. Venice, Heirs of Simon Galignani, 1590.

Small folio [29.5 x 20.25 cm], (12) ff. including engraved title, 201, (1) pp., including 47 copperplate engraved maps in text. Bound in contemporary flexible vellum, borders of covers gilt ruled with arabesque in center, spine gilt with double bands. Head and foot of spine repaired. Engraved ex libris of Thomas Heath, Merchant of Exeter and another of the Western Reserve Historical Society, stamped withdrawn. Title page dusty, with several marginal repairs; some leaves lightly waterstained. Notwithstanding, the maps in excellent impressions.

$8,500

Excellent enlarged edition of one of the most beautifully engraved Italian island books of the sixteenth century. L'isole piu famose was the first with maps engraved on copper; and with the Gastaldi edition of Ptolemy's Geografia (1548, see next item), it was among the earliest geographical works of any kind illustrated with engravings. This edition of Porcacchi contains much more than the first. According to Phillips's Atlases, it contains 17 maps not in the edition of 1572, including two relating to America: Jamaica and Puerto Rico, here called 'Isola di S. Giovanni' for San Juan.

Altogether, pages 154 to 184 relate to America. The volume closes with 'Descrizione del Mappamondo' and 'Discorso intorno alla carta da navigare,' pages 193 to 201, illustrated with two splendid Lafrerian-style maps of the world engraved by the Paduan Girolamo Porro. Porro, well known as a book illustrator, later engraved maps for the first small-format Mercator atlas and for a Ptolemy (both appearing in 1596). According to Shirley, the oval-shaped world map "is a finely-executed reduction of Camocio's large world map of 1567, one of the last in the long line of derivatives from Gastaldi's prototype of 1546."


* * Adams P-1906; Sabin 64,105; Shirley 127-28; see The World Encompassed 86.

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