L'isola di Cuba a piu sette[n]tio[n]al della Spagnola... [with] L’ Isola Spagnola…. Cuba/ Hispaniola, Paolo FORLANI.
Very Early & Rare Maps of Cuba & Hispaniola on a Single Sheet
[Venice, 1564]

L'isola di Cuba a piu sette[n]tio[n]al della Spagnola... [with] L’ Isola Spagnola….

Upper map: 17.5 x 24.7 cm (6.8 x 9.7 inches); lower map: 18.8 x 25.5 cm (7.4 x 10 inches). Each map includes a cartouche with title and text in Italian with a cabled border, a compass rose, and a map scale. Two maps on a single sheet; mint condition.

The first state of these separately published maps of Cuba and Hispaniola, beautifully engraved at the height of early Italian cartography by Paolo Forlani. In addition to Cuba, the upper map includes Jamaica and a part of Hispaniola.

The maps are adorned with cartouches with general historical and ethnographic information about the islands. Thus, on his map of Cuba Paolo Forlani wrote that "there is sweet cane which is very abundant with sugar, cotton, gold and other similar things, together with many spices... The people of this island are more gentle and pleasant than those of Spain... " (quoted in Carlton, pp. 138-139). Hispaniola "was one of the first [places] discovered by Columbus... It is very abundant with cotton, mastic, aloe, cinnamon, ginger and other spices."

"The most prolific of the Venetian map engravers at a time when Venice was publishing more maps than any other city in Europe" (Woodward, "Paolo Forlani", p. 46), Paolo Forlani was active in Venice between 1560 and 1571, engraving 100 plates of maps, prints, a globe and two town books with forty views. Very little is known about his life; Woodward suggests that Forlani was born in Verona and died in Venice in the mid 1570s, possibly from the plague that diminished the city's population by 30%.

These maps are among the earliest separate maps of the respective islands. This single sheet with the two maps appeared in a very rare, assembled-to-order, Italian atlas; such atlases are known under the generic name of La Freri, after the Roman publisher and bookseller, who compiled many of them in the middle of the sixteenth century.  Maps of from the La Freri atlases were generally the most accomplished maps available worldwide prior to the Dutch period; many of them, in fact, served as models for the later Dutch maps.  Both maps here are also superb examples of the restrained elegance that characterized the visual style of La Freri maps at their best.

We have located copies of the maps only at two U.S. institutions: at JCB and Newberry Library.

*Not in Cueto, Cuba in Old Maps Exhibition Catalogue but listed among maps known to Cueto—no. 405, p. 46; Tooley in Imago Mundi III, maps 90 & 84, p. 21 & 22; Woodward, The Maps and Prints of Paolo Forlani, p. 18, 29.01; Carlton, Worldly Consumers: The Demand for Maps in Renaissance Italy (2015); Woodward, "Paolo Forlani: Compiler, Engraver, Printer, or Publisher?" Imago Mundi 44 (1992), pp. 45-64.

Price: $9,500.00

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