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Nice unjoined example of the 2 sheet Pigafetta map of Africa, from the 1598-99 edition of De Bry's Petit Voyages. Pigafetta's map of Africa based on the explorations of Duarte Lopes, a Portuguese whose voyages to the Congo Basin added to the speculation about the source of the Nile. Rather than following the Ptolemaic convention of twin sources in the Mountains of the Moon the two lakes are in series, with the upper lake also being the source of the Congo. This example comes from the German Edition, and was engraved by Johann Israel de Bry. For some reason the two large cartouches top right have been left blank; lower right are a key and a dedication to the emperor Prester John. The seas and lakes are filled with galleons and seamonsters. A nice example, with minor restorations along the right margins.

Theodor De Bry Biography

Theodor de Bry (1528-1598) was a prominent Flemish engraver and publisher best known for his engravings of the New World. Born in Liege, de Bry hailed from the portion of Flanders then controlled by Spain. The de Brys were a family of jewelers and engravers, and young Theodor was trained in those artisanal trades.

As a Lutheran, however, his life and livelihood was threatened when the Spanish Inquisition cracked down on non-Catholics. De Bry was banished and his goods seized in 1570. He fled to Strasbourg, where he studied under the Huguenot engraver Etienne Delaune. He also traveled to Antwerp, London, and Frankfurt, where he settled with his family.

In 1590, de Bry began to publish his Les Grands Voyages, which would eventually stretch to thirty volumes released by de Bry and his two sons. The volumes contained not only important engraved images of the New World, the first many had seen of the geographic novelties, but also several important maps. He also published a collection focus on India Orientalis. Les Grands Voyages was published in German, Latin, French, and English, extending de Bry’s fame and his view of the New World.