de Wit, Frederick

Magnum Mare del Zur cum Insula California

Magnum Mare del Zur cum Insula California. / De Groote Zuyd-Zee en't Eylandt California.

DESCRIPTION: This beautiful antique sea chart of the Pacific Ocean from 1675 is one of the earliest obtainable nautical charts of Oceana. The chart extends eastward from Japan, Korea and New Guinea to the newly explored west coast of North America with California shown as an island. The incomplete outline of landforms in Australasia reflect the limited exploration of that area.

This chart is the first and most desirable state, engraved by Frederick de Wit, with the imprint: "Gedruckt't Amsterdam by Frederick de Wit inde Calverstraet. " Published in de Wit's Orbis Maritimus ofte Zee Atlas, comprised of twenty-seven nautical charts of the world's oceans.

The concept that Baja California was an island rather than a peninsula dates back to the early 1500's. In 1701 Jesuit priest and cartographer Eusebio Francisco Kino published a map based on his explorations of the area showing Baja California to be a peninsula, but despite that work the question was not finally accepted by all cartographers until the mid-eighteenth century.

Hollandia Nova, or New Holland was the name given to the vast continent of Australia. On this early chart only the north coast of Australia and the Gulf of Carpentaria are depicted, with an incomplete outline of western New Guinea drawn above. Below, the outline of the southern half of Tasmania ( " Anthoni van Diemens Landt" ) and a portion of the east coast of New Zealand with the Cook Strait shown as a bay.

A very attractive decorative cartouche at bottom right features a portrait of Ferdinand Magellan gazing over a tableau of Poseidon and his consort Amphitrite riding a chariot through the sea while putti drape garland over the scene. Empty areas in the chart are filled with depictions of square-rigged warships under sail and firing cannon. Title is in Latin and Dutch.

CREATOR: de Wit, Frederick



BODY OF WATER: Pacific Ocean

CONDITION: Good.  Some age-toning as expected. No major condition issues. Ample margins. Trace of binder's stub on verso. Minor evidence of oxidation on the verso from green pigment supports the statement that the chart was colored near the time of issuance.

COLORING: Original color possibly refreshed in the modern era.

ENGRAVER: Frederick de Wit

SIZE: 22 " x 20 "


PRICE: $3100


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