Very Rare First State of the Tavernier-Bertius Map of Africa. Unlocated by Betz.
This is the 1639 first state of Petrus Bertius's map of Africa printed by Tavernier. Betz is unable to locate this state but attributes its supposed existence to other maps of continents published by Tavernier in that year. This would have been based on a 1624 map by Bertius, named one of nine important lost maps of Africa by Betz (page 500). This map was separately issued. The second state was published in 1661, and there is a ghost state from 1662 (the state was proposed by Tooley but questioned by Betz).
Bertius's map of Africa is one of the earliest maps of Africa engraved in France. Melchior Tavernier, the printer, was one of the leading Paris publishers of the early 17th century. This map shows Africa in great detail, with attractive engravings throughout the map. The wildlife of Africa is shown, though not always in its correct habitat.
Imaginary mountain chains, islands, and kingdoms adorn this map alongside their real counterparts. The Mountains of the Moon are shown to the south of Lake Zaire. The Nile follows a Ptolemaic path. Abundant islands and shoals cover the West Indian Ocean. The map is extremely detailed.
Burden notes of the American map: "this rare map is one of a set of the four known continents that Melchior Tavernier had engraved, with or without Petrus Bertius' permission is unclear." Burden identifies Cornelis Danckerts (the elder) as the engraver. The work was published after Bertius's death.
The map is rare on the market.
Melchior Tavernier was a member of a large family involved in the publishing trade in Paris in the early years of the seventeenth century. Early in his career, he apparently collaborated with Henricus Hondius, as at least one of his early maps references Tavernier as the seller of a map engraved in Amsterdam, by Hondius. He is probably best known for his publication of a map of the Post Roads of France, which was copied many times until the end of the century. He also issued an atlas under the same title as J. le Clerc's Theatre Geographique, using many of Le Clerc's maps, but incorporating others from different sources. He published composite atlases and also published works for other cartographers, including N. Sanson, N. Tassin, and P. Bertius. He is not to be confused with his nephew of the same name (1594-1665), who also engraved maps for Nicolas Sanson.
Petrus Bertius was a Flemish historian, theologian, geographer, and cartographer. Known in Dutch as Peter de Bert, Bertius was born in Beveren. His father was a Protestant preacher and his family fled to London around 1568. The young Bertius only returned to the Low Countries in 1577, to attend the University of Leiden. A bright pupil, Bertius worked as a tutor and was named subregent of the Leiden Statencollege in 1593. He ascended to the position of regent in 1606, upon the death of the former regent, who was also Bertius’ father-in-law. However, due to his radical religious views, he eventually lost his teaching position and was forbidden from offering private lessons.
His brothers-in-law were Jodocus Hondius and Pieter van den Keere, who were both prominent cartographers. Bertius began his own cartographic publishing in 1600 when he released a Latin edition of Barent Langenes’ miniature atlas Caert Thresoor (1598). He published another miniature atlas that first appeared in 1616.
By 1618, Bertius was named cosmographer to Louis XIII. He converted to Catholicism and took up a position as professor of rhetoric at the Collège de Boncourt (University of Paris). In 1622, Louis XIII created a chart of mathematics specifically for Bertius and named him his royal historian. He died in Paris in 1629.