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Robert Dudley: Carta Particolare dell' Rid' Amazone con la costa sin al fiume Maranhan

Map: SAM3207
Cartographer: Robert Dudley
Title: Carta Particolare dell' Rid' Amazone con la costa sin al fiume Maranhan
Date: 1663
Published: Florence
Width: 20 inches / 51 cm
Height: 16 inches / 41 cm
Map ref: SAM3207
Magnificent map of the mouth of the Amazon River from the earliest printed sea atlas to cover the globe.


Robert Dudley is one of the most colourful of all English cartographers and is indeed one of the most remarkable men of the age. He was born an illegitimate son of Robert Earl of Leicester, minister and favourite of Queen Elizabeth, who was to eventually acknowledge him as his heir.

In l594 5, Dudley voyaged to the West Indies with the ships the "Earwig" and the "Bear"', attacking Spanish shipping and exploring the Guiana coast. In 1596, he took part in Essex's raid on Cadiz for which he was subsequently knighted. However, his matrimonial problems (he fled abroad with his wife's maid, the latter dressed as a page) led to his exile from the English court and he settled in Florence in 1605.

Here, he worked as a naval architect and shipbuilder under the patronage of the Dukes of Tuscany, but his major achievement was the publication of "Dell' Arcano del Mare" in 1646/7. This monumental six volume work covered all aspects of sailing, navigation and ship building, and included two volumes of charts. Among other distinctions, it was the first sea atlas by an Englishman, the first to cover the whole world and the first in which all the maps were drawn on Mercator's projection.

The geographical information for the charts was drawn from many sources, including the logs of Thomas Cavendish the circumnavigator who was both Grand Admiral of England and Dudley's brother in law. The maps were beautifully engraved by Antonio Lucini, and show clear coast lines with place names. The majority are embellished with magnificent cartouches, sea monsters, ships and compass roses.

The atlas was re issued in 1661 by Guiseppe Cochini, the charts of which are distinguished by the cypher "L.6." in the cartouche.

Sir Robert Dudley's magnificent sea atlas was to be unsurpassed for well over a century.

Strong impression. [SAM3207]