de LETH, Hendrick (1703-1766) and Andries de LETH. Carte Nouvelle de la Mer du Sud... Amsterdam: for Hendrick and Andries de Leth by Visscher, [1740].

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Two sheets joined, float mounted and framed (23 1/8 x 36 1/8 inches to the neat line, margins showing the plate-mark). Fine engraved map "Carte Nouvelle de la Mer du Sud dresse par ordere des principaux Directeurs, & tiree des Memoires les plus receiits et des Relations des Navigateurs les plus Modernes, tant de France que d'Espagno..." of the Southern Hemisphere, with six fine insets of plans of important port cities including Veracruz, Rio de Janeiro, and Havana, an exceptionally fine vignettes of Mexico City, and the Cape of Good Hope.


Issued separately and EXCEPTIONALLY RARE. Based in part on de Fer's also extremely rare 1713 wall map, this is the third issue, with the inset city plans replacing a vignette of Niagara Falls and the publisher's imprint below the title.

Hendrick de Leth began his cartographic career working for the foremost family printing company in 17th and 18th-century Amsterdam, the Visscher firm. The family of Visscher was one of the most distinguished of all 17th-century cartographic firms, and a major player in the era now considered the golden age of Dutch mapmaking. In the late 1600's, a period of great geographical discovery, Amsterdam became an international center of the arts and of cartography, with engravers and printers produced magnificent maps and charts of every kind. The fields of artistic production and mapmaking were arguably more seamlessly united during this era than any period before or since, as the strong competition among publishers meant that maps not only had to be scrupulously accurate, but also visually appealing. In this milieu, a number of venerable firms, including those established by Blaeu, Jansson, Hondius, as well as Visscher, competed for the ever-expanding market for maps and atlases. The firm founded by Nicholas Visscher set standards for exceptional quality that few others were able to equal, and Hendrick de Leth, who eventually rose to assume control of the Visscher publishing house in the 18th century, maintained the company's standards for excellence during a period when Amsterdam's cartographic preeminence was just beginning to be challenged by the French school of scientific cartography. Boasting advanced geographical information, fine engraving and coloring, and striking decoration, this map is one of de Leth's foremost works, and a fundamental example the best in 18th-century Dutch cartography. Encompassing much of the world, including all of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it includes a wealth of geographical, historical, practical and anecdotal information, including commercial sea routes and the paths of famous explorers like Magellan, as well as inset plans of important port cities including Veracruz, Rio de Janeiro, and Havana. One cartouche at lower center is surmounted by a plan of Mexico City, while another, at lower right, shows an atmospheric view of the dramatic coast of the Cape of Good Hope. Decorative flourishes include cherubs bearing inscribed informational banners, magnificent strapwork designs, wild animals and allegorical figures. This is a magnificent and highly engaging map by one of the last prominent mapmakers from the golden age of Dutch cartography. McLaughlin 220; Norwich 320; Tooley (Amer) p. 133, 94; Tooley (MCC-23) 75.