1704 Gerard Valk Map of Southern Italy (Kingdom of Naples)

Italiae Pars Meridionalis; Quae Nunc Sceptri Hispanici Regnum Neapolitanum: in XII Provincias divisum. - Main View

1704 Gerard Valk Map of Southern Italy (Kingdom of Naples)


Scarce Vlak map of Southern Italy.


Italiae Pars Meridionalis; Quae Nunc Sceptri Hispanici Regnum Neapolitanum: in XII Provincias divisum.
  1704 (undated)     24.25 x 19.75 in (61.595 x 50.165 cm)     1 : 1100000


A rare c. 1704 Gerard Valk (Valck) map of southern Italy. Strictly oriented to the northwest, the map covers peninsular Italy from roughly Rome to the southernmost extremes of Calabria and Puglia. In the upper left, there is an elaborate title cartouche bearing the arms of the Kingdom of Naples, putti, and other allegorical content.

The Crypto-Island of 'M. Sardo'

As authoritative as Magini's 1608 wall map Italia Nuova was, one of its hallmarks - and those maps based on it - was the placement of a mysterious mountainous island 'M. Sardo'  in the Gulf of Taranto. Despite being reproduced faithfully on near every 17th century map of the peninsula, the origins of this imaginary island have long been obscure. More recently, the scholar/collector Vladimirio Valerio discovered a interesting notation on the Otranto map in the 1595 Stigliola manuscript Atlas of the Kingdom of Naples (added to his collection in 1975). On that manuscript, a crude mountain-hump is mapped in the Gulf of Taranto - the first known instance in print or otherwise of any such 'M. Sardo' in those waters. While no such island or mountain actually exists, there is, near the tip of Otranto, a mountaintop village - Monte Sardo - notable for its visibility both from the Gulf of Otranto and the Gulf of Venice. Thus the manuscript 'M. Sardo' is a crude coastal profile highlighting a observable coastal navigational feature. Valerio's theorizes that, in compiling his masterpiece map of Italy, Magini consulted the Stigliola as the best and most detailed map of southern Italy. In doing so, he misinterpreted the navigational notation, preserving it as a literal mountain in the middle of the Gulf, and retaining the name M. Sardo. Magini's work was so authoritative that Blaeu copied the map, errors and all; and in turn, with few exceptions, the rest of the European mapmaking community followed.

Publication History and Census

This map was first published by Gerard Valk sometime around 1700, with most authorities suggesting 1704. It was published in Valk's rare atlas Nova Totius Geographica Telluris Proiectio, of which there are only 2 known surviving examples. Separate issue examples are found in composite atlases dating as late as 1730. This map is rare, with no market history and examples known only in 2 institutions.


Gerard Valk (September 30, 1652 - October 21, 1726) (aka. Valck, Walck, Valcke), was a Dutch engraver, globe maker, and map publisher active in Amsterdam in the latter half of the 17th century and early 18th century. Valk was born in Amsterdam where his father, Leendert Gerritsz, was a silversmith. He studied mathematics, navigation, and cartography under Pieter Maasz Smit. Valk and moved to London in 1673, where he studied engraving under Abraham Blooteling (or Bloteling) (1634 - 1690), whose sister he married, and later worked for the map sellers Christopher Browne and David Loggan. Valke and Blooteling returned to Amsterdam in 1680 and applied for a 15-year privilege, a kind of early copyright, from the States General, which was granted in 1684. In 1687, he established his own firm in Amsterdam in partnership with Petrus (Pieter) Schenk, who had just married his sister, Agata. They published under the imprint of Valk and Schenk. Also, curiously in the same year Valk acquired the home of Jochem Bormeester, also engraver and son-in-law of art dealer Clement De Jonghe. Initially Valk and Schenk focused on maps and atlases, acquiring the map plates of Jodocus Hondius and Jan Jansson in 1694. Later, in 1701 they moved into the former Hendrick Hondius (the younger) offices where they began producing globes. Valk and Schenk soon acquired the reputation of producing the finest globes in the Netherlands, a business on which they held a near monopoly for nearly 50 years. In 1702, Valk joined the Bookseller's Guild of which he was promptly elected head. Around the same time, Gerard introduced his son, Leonard, who was married to Maria Schenk, to the business. Leonard spearheaded the acquisition of the map plates of Frederick de Wit in 1709. Nonetheless, Leonard was nowhere near as sophisticated a cartographer or businessman as his father and ultimately, through neglect, lost much the firm's prestige. After his death, the firm was taken over by his widow Maria. Learn More...


Good. Some foxing and overall toning. Some colors oxidized causing brittleness to paper. Backed on archival tissue. Minor reinforcements.


OCLC 159800435. Gunther, R. T., A Bibliography of Topographical and Geological Works on the Phlegraean Fields, p 34.