1712 Wells Map of Italy
Description: This is an uncommon 1712 map of Italy inclusive of the adjoining islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily by Edward Wells of Oxford. It extends north as far as Lake Geneva and Germany and from France to the Gulf of Venice and the Adriatic Sea, noting towns, cities, rivers, mountains, islands and other topographical features. At the time this map was made, most of Italy was under Spanish control. Following the War of Spanish Succession, Spain would lose many of its territories in Italy to Habsburg Austria, making Austria the dominant power in Italy.
A decorative cartouche appears on the top right quadrant of the map featuring the coat of arms of the Duke of Gloucester. This, like many other Wells maps, is dedicated to Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and son of Queen Anne, who, when this map was being prepared, was a student at Oxford. Engraved by Sutton Nicholls and published by T. Bonwicke for the 1712 edition of Edward Wells' Atlas, A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography.
Date: 1712 (undated)
Source: Wells, E., A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography, (London, T. w. Bonwicke) c. 1712. A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography was published by Edward Wells in various editions between 1701 and 1730. The publication contained some 40 maps all of which were dedicated to Prince William, Duke of Gloucester. Wells tutored the young prince at Christchurch, Oxford and seems to have developed a close relationship with him. At just 11 years of age, William died in 1700 and never had the opportunity to see the published work that he inspired. The atlas was intended for educational purposes with a focus on school use.
References: New York Public Library, Map Division, OCLC : 7143148 (1700 edition).
Cartographer: Edward Wells (1667 - 1727) was an English mathematician, geographer, and classical scholar based at Christ Church College, Oxford. Well's was trained for the ministry but quickly found himself unsuited to religious life and instead applied for an academic position at Oxford, where he authored numerous well respected works on a wide range of mathematical and scientific topics. He was chosen to tutor the young Prince William, the sickly son of Queen Anne. The two must have been quite close for Well's dedicated nearly all of the maps in his most important atlas, A New Sett of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography. Sadly, he young prince died in July of 1700 shortly before the atlas was published. Nonetheless, Wells' geography proved popular and was published in number editions well into the 1730s. Click here for a list of rare maps by Edward Wells.
Size: Printed area measures 19.5 x 15 inches (49.53 x 38.1 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 3750000
Condition: Very good. Some wear and foxing along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Professionally flattened and backed with archival tissue.
Code: NewMapItaly-wells-1712 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
Tags: Wells , War of Spanish Succession