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Description

Nice old color example of Moses Pitt's double hemisphere map of the World.

The present map was originally published by Van Loon in 1661. The plate was acquired by Moses Pitt, who added a dedication cartouche to King Charles II, who ascended to the Throne of England, Ireland and Scotland in May of 1660, following the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Pitt and his partner acquired the plates from Blaeu's Atlas Maior and set out to issue an even larger Atlas in London. However, after 4 volumes, they landed in Debtor's prison and the atlas was never completed.

The map offered here is based upon Visscher's World map of 1658 (Shirley 406) and Van Loon's rare Zee Atlas, first issued in 1661. The cartography includes California as an Island, a partial coastline for Australia and New Zealand, no land bridge to Asia from North America, small straits of Anian, no Great Lakes, etc. In 1680, Pitt revised the Van Loon map to include the dedication to Charles the Second and hearldic inclusions at the lower center of the map and added a remarkable lower scene.

Fine depictions of Zeus, Poseidon, Persephone and Demeter complete the image.

Condition Description
Old Color.
Reference
Shirley 439, State II (preceded by the 1661 Van Loon example, lacking the dedication and coat of arms).
Moses Pitt Biography

Pitt was from Cornwall, where he was baptized at St. Teath in 1639. He was educated locally but moved to London when apprenticed to bookseller Robert Littlebury. At the end of his apprenticeship, in 1661, he was made free of the Haberdasher’s Company. His first books to be published with his own imprint appeared in 1667.

Pitt specialized in learned publications and imported scholarly works from continental Europe. He also published the writings of members of the newly formed Royal Society, including Robert Boyle, as well as high-ranking clergymen. In 1678, Pitt was the first bookseller to offer his wares via an auction.

Thanks in part to his ties to the Royal Society, Pitt announced in 1678 that he would publish a massive twelve-volume atlas of the world. The plates were to be based on Dutch maps, with a text written by Bishop William Nicholson and Richard Peers. However, only four volumes ever appeared.

Pitt, who was also managing several properties in Westminster and had expanded in a partnership to Oxford, was spread too thin. The cost of each volume of the atlas alone Pitt estimated at £1,000. One by one, his ventures turned foul, landing him in debtors’ prison for seven years. He died in London, but not in prison, in 1697.