1747 Ruyter Map of Florida, Mexico and the West Indies
Description: Engraved by Balthasar Ruyter, this is an extremely rare and highly unusual 1747 map of Mexico, the Caribbean, the West Indies and Florida. Covers from roughly Michoacán Mexico, west to Surinam, north as far as modern day Virginia and south as far as modern day Ecuador. The cartography exhibited here almost certainly references the important 1698 map of North America attributed to Friar Hennepin. The mouth and course of the Mississippi River are displaced far to the west of their actual location and are shown roughly where Galveston Harbor and Sabine Lake are now. Roughly where the actual mouth of the Mississippi is located, this map suggests a large bay which it calls “Baye de Spirito Sancto”. Florida is misshapen with no trace of the Keys. Further south, the West Indies are fairly well mapped suggesting a relatively accurate picture of the islands. Following the lead of Bleau and Hondius, the mainland of Mexico and Central America is wildly exaggerated along the horizontal. Yucatan is also extremely misshapen. In the north, the lake of Apalache, which first appeared in Jacque Le Moyne’s early 17th century map of Florida, is shown as the source of the St. John’s River. In today’s Texas, this map notes several mines and Indian villages including a stylized teepee. Expanding upon Hennapin’s work, Ruyter includes a number of bays in southwestern Florida and adds the Negrillos Islands. The fascinating allegorical title cartouche in the upper right quadrant of this map deserves special attention. In a departure from the traditional iconography for America, (American Indians, sheep, bears, buffalo, etc. ), there appear a unicorn killing a ram, an eagle, a couple of jack rabbits, and a naval fleet. Ruyter was no doubt inspired by the 1671 work of Arnold Montanus, “The New and Unknown World,” in which eagles and unicorns appear as the indigenous fauna of North America. In the background, the fallen pillars and naval armada most likely refer to the annual arrival in Porto Bello of the Spanish treasure fleet from Europe via the Pillars of Hercules. This map was originally prepared for inclusion as chart no. 21 in Ratelband and Gerrevink’s extremely rare 1747 Dutch hand atlas Geographisch-Toneel, Of uitgezochte Karten Tot Gemak der Officieren, Reisigers en Liefhebbers…”
Date: 1747 (undated)
Source: Geographisch-Toneel Of uitgezochte Kaarten, Tot gemak der Officieren, Reisigers en Liefhebbers; Behelsende alle de generale Kaarten ..., (1747 J. Ratelband issue.)
References: L'Amérique vue par l'Europe. Catalogue de l'Exposition du Grand Palais, Paris, 1976, p. 49-50, 89-98, 106-130. John GOSS, The Mapping of North America, Secaucus, 1990, p. 106-107. Hierarchy of the Continents, in America. Bride of the Sun . Exposition organisée par le Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen, 1992, p. 301-309. Cornelis KOEMAN, Atlantes Neerlandici, II, Amsterdam, 1969, p. 58 ; III, Amsterdam, 1969, p. 181.
Cartographer: Daniel de La Feuille (1640 - 1709) was born of Huguenot stock in Sedan (L'Ardennes), France. As a young man he apprenticed as a watchmaker. In 1663 La Feuille married Charlette Marlet, the daughter of a local carpenter. Twenty years later, in 1683, facing religious prosecution of Huguenots in France, the family fled to Amsterdam. By 1686 Daniel had become a burgher (citizen) of the city and established himself as an engraver, publisher, and art dealer. Not long after, in 1691, he was admitted into the Booksellers Guild. Though we are primarily concerned with his cartographic work here, his masterpiece is considered to be Devises et emblems, a collection of symbols and designs mostly likely intended as templates for silversmiths, engravers, and watchmakers. His cartographic work includes numerous individual maps and atlases, many of which continued to be published and republished well after his death in 1709. He was succeeded by his sons Jacob de la Feuille (1668 - 1719) and Paul de La Feuille (1688 - 1727). Click here for a list of rare maps from Daniel de La Feuille.
Cartographer: Johannes Ratelband was a European map publisher based in Amsterdam. Ratelband is a rather obscure fellow, but is known to have published a series of European maps and views in association with the La Feuille family. Click here for a list of rare maps from Johannes Ratelband.
Size: Printed area measures 11.5 x 7.25 inches (29.21 x 18.415 centimeters)
Condition: Very Good condition. Minor discoloration and verso reinforcement along the original folds – see photo. Original plate-mark visible. Else clean and beautiful.
Code: PortoBello-ratelband-1747 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)