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Eastern England From the First Nautical Atlas
WAGHENAER, L. J. [Amsterdam, 1586]
Zee Caerte vande Noordt custe van Engelandt….
13 x 20 1/8 inches.
Fine hand color; centerfold reinforced, else excellent with strong impression.
Richly engraved chart of the coast of Norfolk and part of Suffolk counties in England. It focuses on Yarmouth and the entry to the river Yare, and covers the coast from Orford Ness to The Wash. There are two elaborate compass roses, one annotated in Dutch, the other in Latin; the waters of the North Sea are sailed by five ships and two fishing boats, dragging nets. The scales and cartouche are beautifully embellished with a strapwork motif. The inland portion of the chart is liberally decorated with farmhouses and livestock – the primary attraction of the region, which was well known for its wool.
Waghenaer’s charts combined reliable maritime information based on first hand experience with advanced, theoretical knowledge of navigation, all within a framework of opulent Dutch engraving by Johan van Doetichum. Waghenaer spent the first few decades of his career as a maritime pilot. Dutch commercial vessels during the period of his service confined their activities primarily to the Baltic and northern European areas to avoid conflict with the Spanish, who held the Netherlands under her sway at the time. These are the areas most thoroughly covered by Waghenaer’s atlas, although some charts do extend as far south as Spain.
The commercial success of Waghenaer’s atlas was proof of its quality and value to mariners of many nations. It was published in five languages and many editions for over a 20-year span.