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Cook's First Tracks In The South Pacific

Second edition of the first decorative map to show Cook's tracks in the Pacific, one of the most sought after early maps to depict Cook's Voyage to New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.

The map records discoveries made during the Endeavour's voyage of exploration in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and the South Pacific, as well as showing the tracks of Carteret, Byron and Wallis. The charting of the east coast of Australia and New Zealand is shown in detail, based on Cook's map of the region, the "Chart of part of the South Seas".

Antonio Zatta was a leading European cartographer and publisher, and his Atlante Novissimo was one of the most beautifully produced of all eighteenth-century atlases, with much space devoted to the new discoveries of Captain Cook. Along with his contemporary, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, Zatta was responsible for the revival of taste in Venetian fine printing. Famous for his sardonic tone and as something of a controversialist, he was also well known for producing lavish editions of Italian classics and raccolte (collections of poems for special occasions).

As with many maps by the famous mapmaker, the large decorative vignette dominates, and the original hand-coloring is fine and sensitively rendered. The ship depicted in the vignette is almost certainly Cook's ship, the Endeavour.

The map was first issued in Zatta's Atlante Novissimo.  The present example appears in Jean Pierre Berenger's compilation of voyages, published 1794-96.  This second edition, with a new title, is much rarer than the first.

Condition Description
Minor toning and soiling.
Antonio Zatta Biography

Antonio Zatta (fl. 1757-1797) was a prominent Italian editor, cartographer, and publisher. Little is known about his life beyond his many surviving published works. It is possible that he was born as early as 1722 and lived as late as 1804. He lived in Venice and his work flourished between 1757 and 1797. He is best known for his atlas, Atlante Novissimo (1779-1785), and for his prolific output of prints and books that were both precisely made and aesthetically pleasing. Zatta clearly had a large network from which to draw information; this is how he was able to publish the first glimpse of the islands visited by Captain Cook in the Atlante Novissimo. Zatta also published books of plays and architecture.