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Rare, Beautiful Chart of a Key Area in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia/ Indonesia/ Jakarta.
DUDLEY, Robert [Florence, 1646]
Carta particolare del stretto di Sunda fra I'Isole di Sumatra e Iavamaggre... .
18 1/4 x 14 3/8 inches
Very fair remnant of color in cartouche else excellent.
Rare, finely engraved chart centered on the vital strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra and including Jakarta, formerly Batavia, here "Bantam Citta: di Gran Comerzio."
Dudley was one of the most colorful figures among early mapmakers. He was the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley, Earl of Essex, for a time a favorite of Elizabeth I. This and other familial connections and an interest in the sea put the younger Dudley in contact with the leading explorers of his age, including Drake and Cavendish. However, not able to secure a position commensurate with his abilities in England due to the circumstances of his birth, Dudley made his way to Florence, where he became a valuable courtier to the Medicis and supervised several important engineering projects. His charts reflect both the advantages of his background as well as his technical skills.
In their visual design, Dudley’s charts are utterly unique. The style of the Florentine engraver, Lucini, is distinguished by exquisite calligraphic lettering, of which there are several fine examples on the present chart. It also contains a fine compass rose and a well-detailed ship.
cf. Suarez, T. Early Mapping of Southeast Asia, pp. 205-207.