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Pierre Mortier: Carte Particuliere des Costes d'Afrique depuis Cabo Ledo jusques au Cap de Bone Esperance

Map: AFR6053
 
Cartographer: Pierre Mortier
Title: Carte Particuliere des Costes d'Afrique depuis Cabo Ledo jusques au Cap de Bone Esperance
Date: 1700
Published: Amsterdam
Width: 17 inches / 44 cm
Height: 22 inches / 56 cm
Map ref: AFR6053
Description:
Beautiful example of Mortier's chart of the southwest coast of Africa, showing the coasts of modern Namibia and South Africa including the Cape of Good Hope.

This map details the southwest coast of Africa from Cabo Delgado, on the southern Angolan coast all the way to Cape Town, taking in the infamous skeleton coast of Namibia. The remote island of St. Helena, the future prison of the Emperor Napoleon, is shown on the left and a small inset on the upper right shows the Bay of Saldahna in South Africa.

The source of the map was the Portuguese archives, accessed by the French diplomat N.P. d’Ablancourt. He was able to copy many Portuguese surveys of Africa as well as the Indian Ocean which proved invaluable to Mortier.

The “Neptune Francois” was first issued simultaneously in Paris and Amsterdam by Hubert Jaillot and Pierre Mortier respectively in 1693. The project was highly successful and Mortier developed the Atlas by adding two more sections or volumes to it. The first, Vol II was also issued in 1693 and consisted of a set of charts provided by the noted Dutch artist Romeyn de Hooghe. Collectively these are known as the “ Cartes Marines a l’Usage des Armees du Roy de Grande Bretagne” and were originally drawn for William III of Great Britain. De Hooghe was primarily an artist and his charts bear a distinctive pictorial aspect. They have become renowned for their aesthetics, being cited as the most beautiful set of charts ever published. Volume III added in 1700, entitled “Suite de Neptune” concentrated on charts outside of French territory, including maps of the New World, the West Indies, South East Asia and the Indian Ocean among others.

Mortier’s edition was a prestige work. Later scholars have found that his book was the most expensive sea atlas produced in Amsterdam up to that time. On the rare occasions that an example of one of the maps in full original colour can be obtained, it is easily perceived why this work is cited as one of the finest and most spectacular atlases ever produced.

Magnificent original hand colour. [AFR6053]
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