Amsterdam: Covens & Mortier, 1730. unbound. Map. Engraving with enhanced hand coloring. Image measures 19 x 22.5". Sheet measures 21.75 x 25.5"
This map of Africa is a splendid later edition of Guilaume Delisle's landmark 1700 work. Prior to this publication, cartographers based their representations of Africa on the work of Ptolemy, placing the continent primarily above the Equator and leaving its interior largely undetailed. Delisle broke this 250-year trend by presented a much improved representation that, perhaps most significantly, correctly located the origin of the Nile River in Abyssinia rather than in two source lakes. The style of the map reflects the cartographer's interest in scientific accuracy and care: its clear rendering allowed for updates and new knowledge to be added in later states, such as this one. The Mediterranean has been nicely included at the top of the map as to provide a geographical context. Hand coloring further displays the extent of knowledge about the continent in this period. Delisle's concessions to aesthetics appear in the fine title cartouche in the upper right, which features native Africans interacting with local animals including an elephant, ostrich, and crocodile. The map is in very good condition with no cropping. Full original margins. Guillaume Delisle (1675-1726) was a legendary French cartographer known for introducing a new standard of accuracy into 17th-century mapmaking. He used astronomical observations to determine locations and draw more precise coastlines. The Amsterdam publishing firm of Covens and Mortier (1665-c. 1862) was established by Cornelius Mortier and Jean Covens. Together, the two republished the works of great 17th and early 18th century Dutch and French cartographers such as De L'Isle, Allard, Jansson, De Wit, and Ottens. The firm quickly grew into one of the largest and most prolific Dutch publishing outfits of the 18th century and enjoyed a long and prolific life under a variety of names.