Unrecorded map of Africa

By HONDIUS, Jodocus, 1642 

Africae nova Tabula Auct. Jud. Hundio.

Africa Continent of Africa
  • Author: HONDIUS, Jodocus
  • Publication place: [?Venice] Amsterdam
  • Publisher: Johannes Janssonius
  • Publication date: 1642.
  • Physical description: Engraved map, on two sheets joined, city views to upper and lower border, figures to right and left margin.
  • Dimensions: 450 by 560mm. (17.75 by 22 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 10766


An unrecorded pirated Italian edition of Jodocus Hondius’s carte-a-figures map of Asia.

Gunther Shilder, in the introduction to his cartobibliography of Dutch folio-sized maps with decorative borders (sometimes termed cartes a figures, or panelled maps) commented this genre must be considered one of the finest products of the Amsterdam map-making industry. The successful combination of advances in geographical knowledge with the expression of artistic capability made these maps a valued commodity on both the domestic and broader international market.

That many of these maps were sold as separate sheets, and were only randomly inserted into composite-style atlases of the period, accounts for their rarity today., while their aesthetic appeal has not diminished over the centuries, making them highly collectable examples of the mapmaker’s art.

Although the present map bears no date, and is clearly a copy of the Dutch original, it is possible that it was engraved in Venice, perhaps by the little known publisher Stefano Scolari. There are several reasons to back up this case. Firstly, the paper used in the printing bears the water mark of an anchor in a circle, summounted by a six-pointed star (Heawood 8?) which indicates the paper to be Italian and of the period; secondly the map appeared together with six other similar examples at a Sotheby’s auction, several of which bore the date 1642, and had numerous vignette views to the borders reversed, so that the Tower of London appeared on the left rather than the right of the image, however, this error is not present on the views of Venice, Rome and Constantinople which appear on the map of Europe.

The map is based upon Jodocus Hondius’s map initially published in 1623. The 1623 printing formed part of a set of maps of the four continents of which Africa and Asia are dated 1623. It must be assumed that Pietervan den Keeree either engraved the set or commissioned it to be engraved.

The title of the Asia map appears in the upper left in a cartouche which is a mirror image of that on Jodocus Hondius’s 1619 map. The imprint is in the cartouche in the upper right. The map is surrounded on both sides by costumed Asian figures, and along the upper and lower edge run decorative borders with a total of 12 vignette views of Asian cities.

Later states of the map bear the imprint of Johannes Janssonius — as in the present example.