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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A fine engraved map of the area surrounding Fiji

 DUDLEY, Sir Robert  (1574-1649). Isole Scoperte da Iacomo le Maier Olandese nel 1617. La Longitudine Comincia da l'Isola de Pico d'Asores d Asia. Carta XXI. [Florence: Francesco Onofri, 1646-1647.].

Single sheet (20 4/8 x 16 inches, full margins showing the plate mark). A fine engraved map of the area surrounding Fiji to the north and east by Antonio Lucini, decorated with an elegant compass rose and two-masted ship, with cursive script and the title in a decorative cartouche lower left.

A simple and beautiful chart from Dudley's "Dell'arcano del mare", featuring several South Pacific islands located within the northern Tongan Island group of Tongatatapu situated east of Fiji as well as some islands in the Wallis and Futuna group situated north of Fiji. "These particular islands were discovered by Dutch explorers Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten on their 1615-1616 voyage westward from Tierra del Fuego. Their further discoveries included notably Cocos Island [i.e. Tafahi in Tongatapu] on 9th May 1616, and Verraders Island [i.e. Niuatoputapu] just to the south, and to the northwest Good Hope Island [i.e. Niuafo'ou], then sailing further north-west to Hornsche Island [i.e. Alofi] and then Horne Island [i.e. Futuna, both in the Horn Islands, part of the Futuna and Wallis islands group] on 18th May, where they were cordially received by the natives" (National Library of Australia).

Although sighted by Abel Tasman on his voyage of 1643, Fiji was not charted properly until Captain Bligh's epic journey of 3,618 nautical mile in a small open boat to Timor after the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789.

Robert Dudley's "Secrets of the Sea" is "ONE OF THE GREATEST ATLASES OF THE WORLD and one of the most complex ever produced: it is the first sea-atlas of the whole world; the first with all the charts constructed using Mercator's new projection, as corrected by Edward Wright; the first to give magnetic declination; the first to give prevailing winds and currents... the first to expound the advantages of "Great Circle Sailing"; and ... the first sea-atlas to be compiled by an
Englishman..." (Lord Wardington).

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