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The Earliest Obtainable Sea Chart of the Coastline of California
Fine example of the first edition of Robert Dudley's chart of the California Coastline, the earliest obtainable chart of the region and the first printed map to note the prevailing winds and ocean currents off the coast of California.
The map extends to 38 degrees north, which would place it in the area of Drake's Bay, California, although the coastline extends far west of its true location.
Dudley's chart is by far the largest scale treatment of the coastline, giving Dudley license to make up many of the place names. It has been suggested that Dudley's friendship with Sir Francis Drake gave him access to Drake's papers relating to his landfall in California, although there is no evidence to substantiate this claim, nor the claim that Thomas Cavendish may have supplied seized charts from the Spanish. More likely, Dudley relied on the manuscript charts of John Daniell, a Thames School chartmaker, whose charts were then available at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence, although it is most likely that Dudley brought the Daniell charts to Florence. The Hondius' globe of 1600 also provides some of the influence.
One of the most remarkable features of Dudley's map is his decision not to treat California as an island. Dudley's manuscript charts, which can be viewed in Munich, show many alterations to this plate. While Dudley clearly flirted with the California as an Island theory, he chose not to incorporated it in his charts, although the charts identify Il Regno De Quivira, Terra de Pescadores, and a number of other mythical places on the California Coast.
Dudley's chart of the California Coastline appeared in his Dell'Arcano del Mare, first published in Venice in 1646. Dudley's atlas was a cartographic landmark. It was the first consistently drawn on Mercator's projection. Each of the charts gives prevailing winds and ocean currents for all important harbors and anchorages and the magnetic declination of a large number of places.
As noted by Parry in Printing & The Mind of Man, "In the genre of sea charts it is Sir Robert Dudley (1573-1649) who made the greatest impression among the English cartographers of the seventeenth century, particularly in his charting of the East Indian archipelago . . . the first atlas to contain detailed charts of the whole East Indian and Philippine archipelagoes."
According to Suarez, Dudley's interest in the Far East began in his youth, and he backed Benjamin Wood's 1596 expedition to Southeast Asia which ended in a shipwreck on the Burmese coast. "A man of enormous talents, ranging from adventurer and explorer to scientist, mathematician, naval architect, navigator and cartographer," Dudley was the illegitimate son of the Earl of Leicester, the favorite of Elizabeth I and brother-in-law to Thomas Cavendish. In 1594 Dudley sailed with Sir Francis Drake to Guiana and Trinidad in search of El Dorado and two years later received a knighthood for his part in the Earl of Essex's raid on Cadiz.
Dudley eventually settled in Florence and in a naval capacity entered the service of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Dudley's Arcano del Mare was the first nautical atlas published by an Englishman and one of the most ambitious and beautiful cartographic works ever produced. The plates were engraved by Antonio Lucini, who claimed that twelve years and 5,000 pounds of copper were expended in the preparation of the plates. The resulting charts are among the most distinctive productions of early cartography.
Gorgeous compass rose and several ships. The second state can be distinguished by the Lo6o in the title. Both states are rare.
An essential map for California Collectors.
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