Americae Descriptio Nova

Method Copper engraved with hand colour
Artist Seile, Henry
Published Impensis Henrici Seile, Will: Trevethen Sculp. 1652 [London, 1657]
Dimensions 338 x 425 mm
Notes A beautiful mid-seventeenth century map of the Americas, engraved by William Trevethen for Henry Seile's 1657 second edition printing of Peter Heylyn's Cosmographie in foure Bookes, Contayning the Chorographie & Historie of the whole World, and all the Principall Kingdoms, Provinces, Seas, and Isles Thereof. The map, one of the earliest English maps of the New World, shows north and south America, with the borders of the various colonial territories outlined in beautiful hand colour. The continent of South America is effectively shown as only two separate territories, Peruviana and Brasilia. Manoa or El Dorado is plotted on the shores of Lake Parime on the Equator, and below this, south of a large forest, a group of cannibals are shown barbecuing human limbs on a griddle above a bonfire. Mexico is entitled New Spaine and New Galicia, California is shown as an island, and the north western coastline of Canada and Alaska is largely absent, as are the Great Lakes and any detail in the interior of the northern continent. The English territories on the East Coast are relatively well mapped, as is Nova Francia to the north. On the map's right border, the edges of Europe and Africa can be seen, while at the bottom, to the west of the Straits of Magellan, a single faint coastline is labelled 'Ter: Austral: Incognita' - the Unknown Southern Land. The map is completed by a strapwork title cartouche, two sea monsters, and a pair of sailing ships.

Henry Seile (1595-1660), less commonly Henri Seale, was an English bookseller, published, and printer, who predominantly published works of theology, history, geography, and poetry. His most famous cartographic contributions include a suite of continent maps that accompanied the Cosmographie of the theologian and geographer Peter Heylyn. His connection to Peter Heylyn brought him into contact with Charles I, and for a time he styled himself 'Bookseller to the King.' Among his other publications are the plays and poems of Sir Fulke Greville, an early patron to John Speed.

Peter Heylyn (1599-1662) was an English churchman and author, particularly well known for his geographical and historical treatises, the Microcosmus (1621) and the Cosmographie (1652). Born in Burford, Oxfordshire, Heylyn attended Hart Hall in Oxford. He was made a Fellow of Magdalen at the age of 18, and lectured on geography, particularly classical and biblical. In his ecclesiastical roles, he was notorious as an anti-Puritan controversialist. This, combined with his former royal patronage, stymied his career during the Commonwealth period. Geographically, his work is significant as being among, if not the, first printed descriptions of Australia, California, and the Tierra del Fuego, and, like others of his era, he objected to the use of 'America' to describe the New World, preferring titles that derived from Columbus or Cabot, rather than Vespucci.

Condition: Central vertical fold as issued. Trimmed to plate mark at top and sides, as issued, now professionally remargined. Large repaired tear to left of central fold. Blank on verso.
Framing unmounted
Price £1,000.00
Stock ID 49049

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