Rare bird's-eye view of Gallipoli Lecce, in Apulia, by NIcholas Van Aelst, dedicated to Flaminio Caracciolo by Giovanbattista Crispo da Gallipoli, and dated 1 January 1591.
Title set in a scrolling ribbon, arms of Gallipoli and of Spain, with the lion and dragon of Gallipoli, key and dedication in decorative strapwork cartouches, the dedication surmounted by the arms of Prince Flamininio Caracciolo, scalebar with dividers, compass rose, decorative galleons, dragons, dolphins and fish.
This fine view of Gallipoli includes the whole of the town, its impressive fortifications, the surrounding rocks and islands, and part of mainland Apulia. The British Library catalogue records the engraver as Natale Bonifacio.
The only examples of the map which we were able to locate is recorded in
Description of a splendid collection of 950 maps and views of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at the National Library of Malta, by Albert Ganado, which appeared in Proceedings of History Week 1992, [Malta : The [Malta] Historical Society, 1994 (137-228) and a second example offered at Christies in 1998, which notes an example in the British Library.
As noted by Ganado:
[There existed a] large number of engraved copper plates existing at Antonio Lafreri's shop in Via Parione, Rome, when he passed away on 20 July, 1577. This Roman "tycoon" of the printing and publishing trade died childless and intestate. His estate was divided in three parts, one-third of which was assigned to Claudio Duchetti, Lafreri's nephew, who eventually became his uncle's successor in the business. He also augmented the stock he had inherited from his uncle by acquiring plates from other publishers and by commissioning the engraving of new plates. He reached the peak of his activity in 1585, which was also the year of his death. It is quite likely that Duchetti assembled in volume form from his stock maps of the various parts of the world, thus following the footsteps of Lafreri and the Venetian publishers.
Although Claudio appointed in his will his brother-in-law Giacomo Gherardi as the tutor of his offspring, some of Lafreri's plates were acquired by Paolo Graziani and Pietro de Nobili, others by Giovanni Orlandi and from him by Henricus van Schoel, a few by Nicholas van Aelst.
Nicholas Van Aelst was from Brussels, but worked in Rome from about 1589 to 1600. Joseph Strutt (
A Biographical Dictionary; Containing An Historical Account of All Engravers . . . London, 1785) notes that while he was primarily a publisher, he did did engrave and/or revise a number of plates in his own hand.