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1671 Ogilby Map or View of New York (New Amsterdam, Novum Amsterodamum)

Novum Amsterodamum. - Main View

1671 Ogilby Map or View of New York (New Amsterdam, Novum Amsterodamum)


One of the earliest obtainable views of New York City or, as it was, New Amsterdam.


Novum Amsterodamum.
  1671 (undated)     14 x 9 in (35.56 x 22.86 cm)


A fine example of John Ogilby's 1671 view of New Amsterdam, one of the earliest obtainable depictions of New York City. Prepared for Ogilby's America, this vies is mostly likely based on a very similar watercolor completed by Laurens Hermansz Block in 1650 or 1651. Block Visited New York aboard the merchant ship Lydia and the view here most likely reveals the city either on Block's arrival in 1650 or departure in 1651. The original watercolor has survived and is currently in the collection of the New York Historical Society. Text below the map describes the wonders of the New World, tacitly inviting colonists to partake.

The view shows New Amsterdam as a tiny but seemingly prosperous settlement with the windmill and prominent church dominating the scene while merchant ships fill the foreground harbor. In fact, New Amsterdam languished under the neglect of the Dutch West India Company, who was more focused on its war with Portugal in South America. It was not until 1664, when the settlement was sized by the British, who renamed it New York, in honor the Duke of York, later James II King of england, that the city began to prosper. The British proved to be superior colonial managers and, by the time Ogilby published his America edited and updated from the Dutch version by Arnold Montanus, the population had swelled to some four hundred households – making it one of the largest settlements in North America – and gained the protection of James Fort .


John Ogilby (November 17, 1600 - 1676) was a Scottish translator and cartographer. John Ogilby's life seems to be one of extremes, teetering between wealth and poverty, success and failure. Ogilby was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, into a once wealthy family laid low by extreme debt. Struggling with poverty at every turn, Ogilby involved himself in various businesses ranging from dancing master, to actor, to tutor. In 1612, at age 12, Ogilby won a lottery run to advance the colonial interests of Virginia. His winning were sufficient to pay of many of his father's debts and apprentice himself to a dancing master. Ogilby proved a natural and graceful dancer and even made extra money tutoring his fellow apprentices. Starcrossed as he was, Olgiby's dancing career ended when a misstep when a misstep at a masked ball injured his leg and left him lame for live. Afterwards he managed to leverage his contacts in the dance world to secure a position as a dance instructor to the daughters of Sir Ralph Hopton. Hopton struck an immediate friendship with Olgiby and trained him in Military Science. Later Ogilby relocated to Ireland where he worked an as actor and later as Master of Revels. The Irish Rebellion of 1641 again dashed Ogilby's fortunes and forced him to flee Dublin by ship. On the way, the ship sunk but the survivors were rescued and eventually made their way to England, which was then under the strict rule of Oliver Cromwell. Ogilby took refuge at Cambridge where he mastered Greek and Latin. Following the Restoration of Charles II, Ogilby invested in his first major literary venture, a translation of Virgil into English. This work earned him the patronage of Charles II, despite the ridicule of prominent poets Dryden and Pope. Under Royal patronage Ogilby published several volumes relating to the Restoration. In short order he has established a successful London publisher based out of the Whitefriars district. This, unfortunately turned out to be a fateful choice of location as in 1666 the Great Fire of London tore through this are destroying Ogilby's publishing stock, home, and business. Once again Ogilby exhibited a remarkable phoenix-like ability to literally rise from the ashes. Shortly after the Great Fire, he began his most important ventures as a publisher of geographical works. In order to recover from the fire, Ogilby and his grandson were took positions as surveyors commissioned to create a large property map of London. The resultant map of London, "London Survey'd", was published in 1677 and earned Ogilby the honorific "Kings Cosmographer and Geographic Printer". His most famous works are his 1675 Road Atlas of England, Britannia which redefined road mapping, and his 1671 Atlas of the Americas. More by this mapmaker...


Ogilby, J., America, (London) 1671.    


Very good condition. Wide margins. Some edge wear.


Stokes, I. N. P., The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909, Vol.1, pl.6.