Africa: being an accurate description of the regions of Ægypt, Barbary, Lybia, and Billedulgerid ... collected and translated from the most authentick authors, and augmented with later observations
by OGILBY, JOHN (1600-1676)
London: Tho. Johnson for the author, 1670. Folio. (15 3/4 x 10 3/8 inches). Title in red and black. Engraved frontispiece, 59 engraved maps and plates (including 10 "half-sheet" views), numerous in-text engravings, 9 leaves of letterpress tables. Extra-illustrated with an additional plate from Ogilby's America (Angra). Contemporary reverse calf, expertly rebacked to style, red morocco lettering piece. Housed in a modern full red morocco box. A wide-margined, complete copy of the most authoritative 17th-century account of Africa published in English. The author alludes to the genesis of this important and beautifully illustrated work in the preface, claiming to have made substantial progress in his own researches for the present work when "a Volumn [sic.] lately Publish'd ... in Low-Dutch, came to my hands, full of new discoveries ... set forth by Dr. O.[lfert] Dapper, a Discreet and Painful Author, whose large Addition, added to my own Endeavors [sic.], hath much Accelerated the Work". In fact almost all of the plates and text can be traced back to Dapper's Naukeurige beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche gewesten van Egypten , first published by the engraver Jacob Van Meurs in Amsterdam in 1668. It is now Dapper's best known work. Although he was not a traveller, Olfert Dapper (1635-1690) spent three years compiling information for the book, using the most reliable published works from a number of fields (geography, economics, politics, medicine, social life and customs) as well as many unpublished travellers' accounts. The wide range of sources he consulted allowed him to cross-check and eliminate some of the wilder tales, and to produce a narrative that was generally much more reliable than earlier accounts and which remains a key text from the era. Ogilby's work is the most authentic and comprehensive work on Africa in English published in the seventeenth century and is of particular interest for the accounts of the natives in southern Africa. Though separately issued, the work was intended as the first volume in a planned "English Atlas" series, and is sometimes found with an additional half-title with the series title (as here), or with the spine numbered as volume one. Besides the above explanation on the sources used, Ogilby's preface, dated April 28, 1670, is of note as it contains the only autobiographical details on the great historian. As with many of Ogilby's works, the collation of a complete copy is of some bibliographic confusion, partly owing to discrepancies between the list of plates and the contents at the time of publication. The present copy is absolutely complete, with the often lacking view of the Royal Palace at Morocco and the addition of the unlisted portrait of Prince Zeriff. Lowndes III, p.1719; Wing O-163; Mendelssohn (1979) 3, p.571; Tooley, Africa , p.87.
(Inventory #: 31205)
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