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The Mapping of North America

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PORCACCHI, Tomaso

L'Isole piu Famose del Mondo

Venice, 1576
Small folio (300 x 215 mm.), in FULL CONTEMPORARY VELLUM BINDING, although bound in sixes. Three parts in one volume, with engraved title, woodcut printer’s device on the last leaf, woodcut head- and tailpieces and 48 engraved maps by Girolamo Porro. With a manuscript index to final endpaper. pp. (28), 202. Wormhole to lower margins of 19 pages, a couple of minor stains, otherwise a good example.
This is the second and preferred expanded edition of Tomaso Porcacchi’s ‘L’Isole piu Famose del Mondo’ first published in Venice in 1572. That edition contained just 30 maps, this second edition was extended to 47. It is printed by Simone Galignani and the engraver Girolamo Porro. This work is classed as an ‘Isolario’ a term used to define an atlas of largely island maps. The tradition of the Isolario began in the Mediterranean Sea and the first printed one appeared at the hands of Bartolommeo dalli Sonetti in c.1485. This was followed by the notable works of Benedetto Bordone in 1528 and Porcacchi.

The third book from page 154 marks the beginning of the American section of the work and contains a fine map of North America entitled ‘Mondo Nuovo’ derived from the extremely rare and important Paolo Forlani map of the same printed in 1565 in Venice. It was the first printed map of North America and through this work by Porcacchi reached a wide audience. The Forlani is also the earliest map available to depict the Straits of Anian. Further interesting maps include one of Temistitan before its destruction by the Spanish. Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico are also featured. The atlas also includes a map of the East Indies ‘Isole Molucche’. The book concludes with two world maps, one oval ‘a finely-executed reduction of Camocio’s large world map of 1567 [&] a nautical map covering most of the world’ (Shirley). Both depict a large southern continent. The text here provides brief details of navigation with some detail on the winds and currents of the world. Provenance: early manuscript ownership mark to title page effaced; Clive A Burden Ltd. May 1996; private English collection. Adams P-1905; Brown Library (1980-97) 576/35; Burden (1996-2007) no. 42; Phillips (1909-) 167; Sabin (1868) 64149; Shirley (1984) nos. 127-28; Shirley (2004) T.Por 1b; Tolias (2007). ‘Isolarii, Fifteenth to Seventeenth’ in ‘The History of Cartography’ volume 3 part 1 pp. 271-2.
Stock number: 7100

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