ONE OF THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED WORKS ON AFRICA AND AN EARLY ENGLISH SOURCE ON THE SOUTHERN CONTINENT: SCARCE 1670 FIRST EDITION OF OGILBY’S MONUMENTAL AFRICA, FEATURING 53 ENGRAVED MAPS AND PLATES, MOST DOUBLE-PAGE OR FOLDING, INCLUDING LARGE FOLDING MAP OF THE ENTIRE CONTINENT AS A WHOLE
OGILBY, John. Africa: Being an Accurate Description of the Regions of Aegypt, Barbary, Lybia, and Billedulgerid, the Land of Negroes, Guinee, Aethopia, and the Abyssines, with all the Adjacent Islands… London: Printed by Tho. Johnson for the Author, 1670. Folio (11 by 17 inches), period-style full mottled and paneled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, red morocco spine label, marbled endpapers. $20,000.
First edition of the most authentic and comprehensive work in English on Africa published during the 17th century, superbly illustrated with 13 double-page maps, 30 double-page copper-engraved plans and views, eight full-page plates (including an engraved frontispiece), more than 40 in-text engraved vignettes by Hollar and others, and a large folding map of the entire African continent (measuring 18 by 23 inches when open). Handsomely bound in elaborately gilt-decorated period-style calf. A magnificent volume.
The first in what was intended to be a comprehensive series of world atlases, Ogilby's Africa is widely recognized as one of the finest English illustrated books relating to that continent. The text, drawn in part from that of Ogilby's contemporary Olfert Dapper, was the most extensive English account of Africa published to date. The work's primary value, however, lies in its extensive notes on southern Africa and its splendid engraved maps, plans and views—this copy contains 53 plates altogether—as well as its more than 40 in-text vignettes. The 14 maps include the large (18 by 23 inches when opened) folding engraved map showing all of Africa, as well as double-page maps of Egypt, Morocco, southern (or "Aethopia") and western ("Negroland") Africa, the Congo, Madagascar, and the Cape Verde and Canary Islands. Among the superb engraved views and plates are Alexandria and Cairo, Tangier, Tripoli, Tunis, Algeries, St. Helena, and the pyramids, as well as important depictions of the region's inhabitants and wildlife. The portions of the book relating to southernmost Africa include extensive notes on the rulers and inhabitants of dozens of separate African nations, including Lovango, Angola, Congo, Guinee, Burno, Nubia and many others. These descriptions, among the first in English relating to this part of Africa, opened a window onto a new and largely unexplored world. "Ogilby may be considered as the English De Bry, his works are similar in their objects, compilation, and mode of illustrations" (Cox II, 69). Copies are found with varying plate configurations: in addition to those listed on the plate list at the end of the volume, a series of additional plates is sometimes included. This copy includes all plates called for in the list, with four additional (frontispiece and three other plates, bound at pages 385, 398 and 401). With half title. With 14 of the 18 preliminary pages of place name lists, printed on one side only, called for by Hosken (152). Cox I:361. Wing O163. Lowndes 1719. Allibone, 1450.
Text and plates with some leaves expertly cleaned, occasional marginal expert paper restoration, faint marginal dampstaining to a few leaves. A splendid volume, scarce and significant.