An extremely rare seventeenth century double hemisphere world map by Robert Greene (fl.1673-88). Greene was apprenticed to John Garrett in 1652 and made free in 1659 just prior to the restoration of Charles II. His family appears to have come from Stallbridge, Dorset. His earliest publications were maps of England and Germany in 1673, published in association with the likes of Robert Morden, John Seller and Arthur Tooker. Indeed, many of the works which bear his name appear to involve partners. We also know that he was unusual in having his own ‘presse to Print’. At the time of his death in 1688 Robert Morden owed him 14s.9d. and William Berry 4s.9d.
This map of the world was first advertised in the ‘London Gazette’ for 17-20 April 1676 as ‘done by the best Observations, and the latest Discoveries that hath been made, with the North Poler Draught, and South Poler Draught, in one large Imperial sheet of Paper. Price 1s. … Sold by Rob. Greene at the Rose and Crown in Budge-row, Anne Underwood on the North-side of the Royal Exchange going up the stairs, and Arthur Tooker against Ivy Bridge in the Strand.’
Rodney Shirley in his magnum opus on world maps only identified two examples of the map, this example being one of them. Indeed, the British Library example was the only known until this example appeared at Sotheby’s 1 December 1983 as lot 219. The map bears California and Australia in configurations we might expect for the period. The whole bears illustrations of the continents in the corners which appear to reflect hunting scenes, except that of America appears to depict a cannibal scene. Each contains costumed nobles, it is likely that in Europe represents Charles II and his Queen Catherine of Braganza. Two polar maps finish it top and bottom.
Since Shirley’s publication the existence of three states has come to light. An undated proof example appeared on the market in 2006 lacking the names to the continents; it’s present whereabouts is unknown. Two examples of a later state dated 1686 survive in the National Library of Australia (loose) and the New York Public Library (bound into a Samuel Thornton Sea Atlas). We have identified six examples of this second state. That in the British Library is cropped as was the example sold at Christies South Kensington in 2004. Two other examples are also in poor condition. That offered here is in good condition with decent margins. Provenance: Sotheby’s 1 December 1983 as lot 219; private collection in Yorkshire; David C. Jolly Collection (Map reference book publisher); private English collection 1993. Shirley (World) 476; Tyacke (1978) no. 55 & p. 117; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).