This beautifully produced book combines several essays on the early exploration and discovery of Australia. The first chapter deals with early speculation about Terra Australis. The second, my favorite, deals with maps of the Dieppe School, which in the mid-1500s show a large Java la Grande just where Australia should be. Many of these beautiful maps are illustrated. Just what was intended to be shown is now obscure, since, as the text notes, Dieppe was blown to kingdom come by the British in 1694, leaving us with only a handful of maps that had been dispersed previously. Adding insult to injury, some of those dispersed maps were destroyed in World War II. Other chapters deal with the Dutch and English discoveries, and eventual settlement. Many of the maps illustrated and discussed are available to collectors, making this a good reference for serious collectors and dealers. Illustrations include the well known maps of Hondius, Blaeu, Thévenot, Harris, Moll, and others. The book was apparently subsidized with a humanities grant, meaning that the buyer is getting a bargain. Anyone with an interest in early Australian cartography had better buy this book while it is still in print.
David C. Jolly, 1990
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