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A Splendid Dudley with the Cape of Good Hope
South Africa/ Namibia/ Cape of Good Hope.
DUDLEY, R. [Florence, 1646]
Carta particolare che mostra il Capo buona Speranza.
19 x 29 5/8 inches
A particularly rich example of the Dudley sea chart with several lush samples of Lucini’s remarkable engraving of calligraphic lettering. The chart, in addition to the Cape of Good Hope, includes the west coast of the Republic of South Africa and most of the coast of Namibia. Also included are the Tristan da Cunha island group and Gough Island in the south Atlantic and the Martin Vaz Islands, which are part of Brazil. Two fine ship engravings, a compass rose, and a handsome cartouche also ornament the chart.
Dudley was one of the most colorful figures among early mapmakers. He was the illegitimate son of Robert Dudley, the Earl of Essex, one time paramour 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.