1645 Dudley - Carta Particolare del Mare di Ethiopia con l'Isola di S. Elena e Parte della Costa

SOLD: First state of Dudley's magnificent 1645 sea chart off West Africa


Carta Particolare del Mare di Ethiopia con l'Isola di S. Elena e Parte della Costa. Carta VIIII

Map maker:

Robert Dudley

Place and Year:

Florence, 1645


48 x 74.5 cm (18.9 x 29.3 in)


Copperplate engraving



Condition Rating:


sold out
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First state of Dudley's magnificent chart showing the west coast of Africa. Include sailing ships, compass card, notes on prevailing winds and currents and more stylized calligraphy.

Sir Robert Dudley's Dell'Arcano del Mare is the earliest printed sea atlas to cover the entire world, the first made by an Englishman, and the first to use the Mercator projection. It was first published in Italian at Florence in 1645, then again in 1646 in a three volume folio. It is remarkable for its inclusion of a proposal for the construction of a navy which Dudley designed and described. It was reprinted in Florence in a two volume folio in 1661 without the charts of the first edition.

The distinctive Baroque style of Dudley's charts is attributable to the elegant engraving of Antonio Francesco Lucini. The six-volume work covered navigation, shipbuilding and astronomy, with 130 maps in two volumes. Unlike the vast majority of his contemporaries, Dudley's maps are all his own and were not copied from other mapmakers. They have an instantly recognizable style: closer to the pre-17th century manuscript portolan charts than the richly decorated maps of Mercator, Hondius and Blaeu.

Later map-makers chose not to copy Dudley's style and so it remains unique in the annals of cartography. The engraving by Antonio Francesco Lucini, who stated that he spent 12 years and used 5,000 pounds of copper to produce the plates, is of exceptional quality, as is the calligraphy.

Today parts of Dell'Arcano del Mare are on display at the Museo Galileo in Florence.


Excellent condition, other than slight folding along the centerfold reinforcement. Good and dark impression.