One of the most spectacular maps of any part of the world from the age of the discovery (Potter). Benzoni's map is one of the earliest separate delineations of Florida and northern South America and one of the earliest maps to focus on the Caribbean. The islands of the Bahamas are disproportionately large, the Bahama and Lucaya Islands placed considerably north of their true location. The legends on the map note the four voyages of Columbus and make a very early reference to the Gulf Stream. The map is based upon charts drawn by Giralomo Benzoni, who explored the New World between 1541 and 1556. Although the shape of Florida is the same as the Le Moyne/De Bry map of 1591, Benzoni's explorations predate LeMoyne and deserve primacy for the configuration of Florida. The map is a remarkable blend of important early cartographic information in the age of discovery and the finest decorative engraving of the period. Includes numerous sea monsters, sailing ships, a compass rose and decorative cartouche. The current example has manuscript restorations in the lower right corner and in several other spots, plus loss of image along the left border and in several other spots along the decorative border, plus several repaired splits. Still, a decorative example of this map. Burden 83; Potter p.164.
Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher best known for his engravings of the New World. Born in Liege, de Bry hailed from the portion of Flanders then controlled by Spain. The de Brys were a family of jewelers and engravers, and young Theodor was trained in those artisanal trades.
As a Lutheran, however, his life and livelihood was threatened when the Spanish Inquisition cracked down on non-Catholics. De Bry was banished and his goods seized in 1570. He fled to Strasbourg, where he studied under the Huguenot engraver Etienne Delaune. He also traveled to Antwerp, London, and Frankfurt, where he settled with his family.
In 1590, de Bry began to publish his Les Grands Voyages, which would eventually stretch to thirty volumes released by de Bry and his two sons. The volumes contained not only important engraved images of the New World, the first many had seen of the geographic novelties, but also several important maps. He also published a collection focus on India Orientalis. Les Grands Voyages was published in German, Latin, French, and English, extending de Bry’s fame and his view of the New World.