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Description

The Earliest Printed Map To Focus On Abel Tasman's Discoveries in New Zealand

Fine example of Alexander Dalrymple's illustration of Abel Tasman's tracks along the coastline of New Zealand and Prince Williams Islands, drawn from Tasman's original charts of 1642.

This chart appeared in Volume 2 of Dalrymple's An Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean. . . . Vol. II. Containing the Dutch Voyages, first published in 1769 and re-issued in 1770.

Dalyrmple's chart provides a faithful copy of the Tasman original, which can be seen here:  https://libweb5.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/pacific/tasman/map-new%20zealand.jpg

There are two early manuscript versions of Tasman's map, one bound with Tasman's original journal, which is located in the Hague.  A second manuscript version of the map survives, believed to be in the hand of Frans Jacobszoon Visscher and bound into the "Huydecoper MS" in the Mitchell Library in Sydney also survives.  This second chart differs slightly from the Tasman journal example, most notably in the following ways:

  • The Tasman map shows no break in the coast line, the Visscher shows a break suggesting the existence of Cook's Strait.
  • The Tasman references Mordenaers (Murders) Bay, which is absent from the Visscher.

The British Museum holds an early copy of the Tasman map (BM Add. MS. 89465).

The original chart is oriented with east at the top. Dalrymple's chart shows North at the top and converts placenames from Dutch to English, but is otherwise a fine accurate depiction of the coastline of New Zealand and the Tracks of Tasman's Passage along the western coast of New Zealand in December 1642. 

The Dalrymple also provides a hybrid treatment of the Prince Williams Islands in the north, thereby incorporating information showing the course of the Heemskerck drawn from the so-called "Eugene Map," a copy of Visscher's original general chart of Tasman's voyages and discoveries in Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga.

Rarity

While Dalyrmple's Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean . . appears on the market, this is the first time we have ever seen this map offered for sale.

Reference
Maling, Early Charts of New Zealand, Plates 5 and 6.