Rare old color example of De Jode's first map of Africa, from the 1578 edition of his Speculum Orbis Terrarum.
The map is divided into two sections and includes an elephant, lions, battle scene, sailing ships and palm trees.
The map is based on the famous eight sheet Giacomo Gastaldi wall map of Africa of 1564. Within the title, De Jode recognizes Gastaldi as the author of this work ("Autore M. Iacobo Castoldo"). This is the second state of the map, which adds the words "cum privilegio" at the end of the title.
As De Jode was represented at the important Frankfurt Book Fair where he bought and sold maps, he possibly obtained a copy of the Gastaldi wall map of Africa during one of these fairs. Other than reducing Gastaldi's heavily detailed, eight-sheet map to one folio-sized map, the basic outline for Africa and its hydrographical and topographic features are the same.
Koeman (1967-71) theorizes that De Jode may have been inspired to issue his own atlas, based on the immediate success of Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. It is therefore likely that this map of Africa may have been prepared sometime after 1570, but before 1578, with the intention that it would eventually be included in De Jode's atlas, pending receipt of a publisher's privilege intended to prevent unauthorized copying of his maps. Although De Jode attempted to receive a royal privilege starting in about 1573, he was not to be granted his royal privilege until 1577.
Prior to 1578, it appears that De Jode printed a number of separate, folio-size maps without text on the verso while he waited for his privilege. It is likely that the second state of De Jode's map of Africa, with the addition of the "cum privilegio" at the bottom right within the title cartouche below the De Jode imprint, was prepared just before the publication of De Jode's Speculum Orbis Terrarum in 1578. The map was engraved by Johannes and Lucas van Deutecum (with the imprint at bottom of Ioannes a Deutecum / Lucas a Deutecum / fecerunt.)
De Jode's atlas was not a financial success and no other editions were published. In total, a dozen or so examples of his atlas are said to have survived. Consequently, all maps by Gerard de Jode are quite rare.
A revised map of Africa, using a new copperplate, was issued in 1593 by his son, Cornelis. This new map was included in Cornelis De Jode's atlas of 1593, the Speculum Orbis Terrae.
Gerard De Jode (1509-1591) was a pre-eminent mapmaker in the late seventeenth century, a time when the Dutch dominated the map trade. He was known for his many maps, some of which featured in Speculum Orbis Terrae (first edition Antwerp: 1578). Although never as successful as Ortelius’ Theatrum, the Speculum did get republished in a second edition in 1593, two years after De Jode’s death, by Arnold Coninx, and included this map. After his death, Gerard’s son, Cornelis (1568-1600), and his wife, Paschina, ran the shop. Unfortunately, Cornelis died young in 1600, aged only 32, and the stock and plates were sold to the publisher Joan Baptista Vrients.