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The Most Lavishly Illustrated Map of the Mediterranean of the 17th Century

Covens & Mortier edition of Romeyn De Hooghe map of the Mediterranean, embellished with 38 inset maps and views of the major ports and harbors of the Mediterranean.

Fine example of Romeyn De Hooghe's monumental chart of the Mediterranean Sea which includes numerous galleons and galleys, with allegorical figures and sea monsters embellishing the insets. The chart appeared in a special section of Pierre Mortier's Neptune François, separately titled Cartes Marines a l'Usage des Armées du Roy de la Grande Bretagne. The nine charts in this section, all engraved by Romeyn de Hooghe, are described by Koeman as the "most spectacular type of maritime cartography ever produced in 17th century Amsterdam." The chart of the Mediterranean is the largest and most intricately decorated of the nine.

Mortier's motives in the production of this atlas, was to flatter the Dutch king on the British throne since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, William III, to whom it is dedicated. The unprecedented size of the atlas and the use of artists such as de Hooghe, made this work one of the most lavish of the period. Again Koeman calls it the "most expensive sea atlas" of the period, "intended more as a show-piece than something to be used by the pilots at sea".

De Hooghe was one of the most famous artist/engravers of the period. His work is highly coveted by map and print collectors.

The map is known in 4 states, according to Egmond's work on Covens & Mortier:

  • State 1: Title Misspelled (this example--1 "R" in Mediteranee)
  • State 2: Title Corrected to Mediterranee
  • State 3: Date Removed
  • State 4: Covens & Mortier Imprint

The present example is state 4 of the map.

Putman, R. (Early) pp.22-3, pl.7; Whitfield, P. (Maritime) pp.86-7; Koeman, C. (Atlantes) IV, Mor 7-9; cf Campbell, T. (Early) pp.96-7.