1720 Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula Auct. F. de Wit.
By: Reiner & Joshua Ottens / Frederick De Wit
Date: 1720 (circa) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 42 x 48.5 inches (106.5 x 123 cm)
This grand, six sheet map of the world exudes the splendor and style of of Dutch map making during the golden age of discovery and enlightenment.
This is just the third known example of De Wit's wall map, first published in 1680. It is therefor incredibly rare and with the other two example housed in the British Library and the University Library of Amsterdam, the only known example available to the public. This example is identified as being published by the Ottens family, which we have concluded to most likely have been printed in 1720.
What undoubtedly catches the eye first for most people is the lavish decorative borders that surround the double hemisphere map on all sides and fills every crevasse of what would otherwise be blank paper. The top portion of the map features a small celestial map, surrounded by cherubs and allegorical figures that appear to have captured and/or tamed a bull, ram, lion, and scorpion, referencing their connection to the zodiac signs of Taurus, Aires, Leo, and Cancer.
The lower portion centers on a polar projection with the goddesses representing the four continents resting above. On either side are scenes of human debauchery and wickedness. To the right, a king marches on a barren land while two kids beat a goat and another crawls on the ground lured by another with two fish on the end of a rod. At bottom left is a scene of drunkenness with one man being carried while another vomits on the ground.
As for the cartography of the map, it includes several of the geographic features many seek when collecting world maps of the era, including California as an Island, partial coastlines of New Zealand, Antarctica, and several areas in the northern pole and an unwillingness to discern as to whether or not Australia is connected to New Guinea.
It also includes tracks of many important explorers, including Hudson, Columbus, Le Maire, Drake, Joris van Spilbergen, and a most interesting track of Edmund Halley's voyage to the southern Atlantic. This voyage for some unknown reason is not recorded on Halley's own charts that were produced from this expedition and therefor may be the only cartographic account of that particular voyage.
State and Rarity
As noted by Shirley, there are two known examples of the map representing two distinct states; one is in the British Library (BL K.4 .11.8 TAB END) and the other in the University Library, Amsterdam (UBA W.B .001). This is the second of the two states.
Condition: This map is in B condition with professional restoration work recently completed. The six sheets of the map joined and archivally backed to provide support. Evidence of old repaired tears, most notably between Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand, below western Australia, above Baffin Bay, below South Africa and below and to the east of Madagascar.
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