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An Early, Rare Map of Africa
In Mint Condition
JODE, G. DE/ JODE, C. DE [Antwerp, 1593]
Africa Vera Forma, et Situs.
12 ¾ x 17 ½ inches.
Fine hand color; fine condition with a strong impression.
A superb, beautifully colored example of a rare map of Africa. It appeared only in the second (and final) edition of Gerard and Cornelis De Jode’s Speculum Orbis Terrarum, one of ten new maps added to the atlas to bring it up to date and make it more competitive with Abraham Ortelius’ very successful Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.
The map of Africa published in the 1578 edition of the Speculum was a relatively spartan work based directly on the somewhat antiquated cartography of Giacomo Gastaldi. In sharp contrast, the 1593 Africa Vera Forma presents a far more current delineation of Africa based largely on Mercator’s mapping – and in some areas--on Ortelius’s as well. The map was improved to compete aesthetically as well: it is among the most beautifully engraved, early maps of the continent, embellished with sailing ships, whales, monsters, and native figures.
Neither edition of the Speculum was a commercial success. Ortelius enjoyed a license and monopoly to publish his Theatrum, and indeed it appears to be partially due to Ortelius’ connections and maneuvering that the De Jodes were unable to secure the same privilege to publish until 1579, nine years after Ortelius’ work was first published. So while Ortelius’ atlas was produced in forty-two editions, the Speculum was confined to two. It was not until 1593 that the second and final edition appeared under the aegis of the son, Cornelis. After Cornelis’ death in 1600, the plates for the Speculum were purchased by Jan Baptist Vrients, who was then publishing Ortelius’ atlas, but there were no later printings of De Jode’s maps. The purchase was likely made in order to completely discontinue the De Jode atlas.
Betz 27; Koeman, Dr. Ir. C., Atlantes Neerlandici, pp. 205-207; Sanderson, M. Atlases and Cartography, p. 106; Skelton, R.A., G. De Jode Speculum Orbis Terrarum (Introduction) pp. v-x; in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Second Series of Atlases in Facsimile; Stone, J. Maps of Africa, p. 27