London: Thomas Johnson, 1670. First Edition. Folio, 16 1/8 x 10 5/8 in. (410 x 270 mm); half title + title + xvi + 767 + map placement list + xiv. All 47 engraved maps and plates listed in the "Directions for placing the Maps and Sculps in AFRICA” are present, including the scarce large FOLDING MAP OF THE ENTIRE CONTINENT OF AFRICA, measuring 17 3/8 x 21 1/2 in. (443 x 546 mm), and 42 in-text engraved illustrations occupying 1/3 of the page, plus several head-pieces and initials. Our copy also contains the ELABORATE ENGRAVED FRONTISPIECE and additional 11 bound-in plates (at pages 164, 337, 249, 258, 285, 295, 398, 398b, 401, 453, and 455). Contemporary calf binding with decorative tooling on front and back covers; 5 raised bands with gilt flower motif in compartments, gilt title on red leather label. Slight split to front hinge, but binding is tight and solid, spine sunned with some scuffs as expected with a tome of this age and dimensions. Fold-out map of Africa has 4 tears to the edges, 1/2 to 2 inches, two of which are repaired; the border of p. 621 has a repair on the right edge, not affecting the text. Light staining and offset on a handful of pages and browning on 2 maps; dampstaining on the edges of some pages at the front and back of the book, not affecting text or plates. Letterpress title-page printed in red and black; half-title present but with a 2x1cm paper loss near the middle of the sheet.
Book plate of Dr. & Mrs. H. Knohl, Fox Pointe Collection
[Cox 1670; Wing O-163; Allibone 1450; Tooley, Maps & Map-Mapmakers, pp. 98-101; Lowndes III, p.1719; ESTC R22824].
One of the first illustrated works on Africa and a SCARCE 1670 FIRST EDITION of Ogilby's monumental work, complete of ALL its MAPS, CITY VIEWS, BATTLE SCENES, BOTANICALS and the FRONTISPIECE. The book was the most extensive English account of Africa published to date although much of the text was drawn from Dutch sources. It is beautifully illustrated with splendid engraved maps, including double-page maps of Egypt, Morocco, southern and western Africa (‘Aethiopia’ and ‘Negroland’), Madagascar, and the Canary Islands; Views of Tangier, Cairo, Tripoli, Algiers and The Cape of Good Hope, as well as views and schematic drawings of the pyramids, depictions of the inhabitants, flora and fauna of different regions. A scarce and significant work.
John Ogilby (1600 – 1676) was a Scottish cartographer, translator and impresario who only turned his attention to cartography at the age of sixty-six and became Royal Cosmographer in 1671. As the fledgling British Empire developed in the 17th century, knowledge of foreign lands was becoming increasingly important to the nation. Ogilby was granted a royal warrant by King Charles II (1630 –1685) to publish ‘A Description of the Whole World’. Africa was the first volume in this series of ornate atlases; Atlas Japannensis (1670), America (1671), Atlas Chinensis (1671) and Asia (1673) followed. The book is effusively dedicated to the newly restored Charles II. In his long preface Ogilby details his writing and publishing, beginning with his effort at translating Virgil and Aesop, and his own composition, most of which were lost with his house and his store in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Essentially the preface contains Ogilby's only known biography. The text of the Atlas, as Ogilby acknowledges in his entertaining preface, is a translation/adaption of the 1668 "Description of Africa" ("Naukeurige beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche gewesten van Egypten") by Dr. Olfert Dapper - a Dutch physician and writer who never traveled outside the Netherlands - and which is itself a cannily curated collection of travelers' reports and cartographic information. Ogilby would find lasting fame with his publication of the first 'road atlas' of Britain in 1675 and he was also the founder of Ireland's first theatre in Dublin.
«While the portrayal of African cultures and societies in this volume is couched in bigoted and patronising terms, Ogilby’s volume was, at the time of its publication, an attempt to provide a broad, detailed and accurate overview of the African continent as it was known to Europeans in the mid-17th century. For these reasons, it has become an important text in modern scholarship on representations of Africa throughout history. Published seven years after the official sanctioning of the slave trade in the British Empire, Africa included maps of coastal trading posts in West Africa, one of the primary regions exploited by Europeans working within the transatlantic slave trade. Many of these seaports, as well as the local African cultures, are described and depicted in this volume.» [British Library catalogue].
Condition: Very good.
Item number: 417