The First Map of Australia, from Nicolas Vallard's Atlas of 1547, in the Library of Sir Thomas Phillipps at Middle Hill.

The First Map of Australia, from Nicolas Vallard's Atlas of 1547...
The First Map of Australia, from Nicolas Vallard's Atlas of 1547, in the Library of Sir Thomas Phillipps at Middle Hill.

Chester: McGachey, printer, for the Middle Hill Press of Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1856.

Colour lithograph printed on card measuring 435 x 585 mm.

Dieppe school: the Vallard map

The only early printing of any of the so called Dieppe maps, depicting the elusive landmass of 'Jave la Grande' that is often taken to represent parts of the Australian east coast. This map by the cartographer Nicholas Vallard was reproduced from his celebrated manuscript sea atlas of 1547, now one of the treasures of the Huntington Library in California. The atlas - one of altogether eleven surviving Dieppe School manuscript atlases all of which are held by major libraries in Europe and America - was owned in the nineteenth–century by Sir Thomas Phillipps, the extraordinary collector of manuscripts and books. He had this facsimile prepared by his Middle Hill Press, the imprint that he used for printing catalogues of his books, manuscripts and paintings, as well as all sorts of exotica including a fair quotient of anti-Catholic polemic. The printing was probably limited to about sixty copies.

The only early printing of any of the so called Dieppe maps, depicting the elusive landmass of 'Jave la Grande' that is often taken to represent parts of the Australian east coast. This map by the cartographer Nicholas Vallard was reproduced from his celebrated manuscript sea atlas of 1547, now one of the treasures of the Huntington Library in California. The atlas - one of altogether eleven surviving Dieppe School manuscript atlases all of which are held by major libraries in Europe and America - was owned in the nineteenth–century by Sir Thomas Phillipps, the extraordinary collector of manuscripts and books. He had this facsimile prepared by his Middle Hill Press, the imprint that he used for printing catalogues of his books, manuscripts and paintings, as well as all sorts of exotica including a fair quotient of anti-Catholic polemic. The printing was probably limited to about sixty copies.

The map has an important place in the cartographic history of the Pacific as it is often taken to point to an early unidentified voyage of discovery, perhaps Portuguese, along the north-east coast of Australia. It was Phillipps himself who entitled it "The First Map of Australia". Together with the reproduction of Rotz's Boke of Idrography, this is one of the few available specimens of the Dieppe School of cartography, whose surviving maps all display a far more extensive sixteenth-century knowledge of the Pacific and Australia than had otherwise been supposed.

Price (AUD): $3,250.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504179

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