Description

    With Some of the Earliest Illustrations of Africans Printed in Europe

    Eduardo Lopez. Filippo Pigafetta. A Report Of The Kindgome of Congo, a Region of Africa. And of the Countries that border rounde about the same. ... Drawen our of the writings and discourses of Odoardo Lopez a Portingall, by Philippo Pigafetta. Translated out of Italian by Abraham Hartwell. London: Printed by John Wolfe, 1597.

    First edition in English. Small quarto (7 .56 x 5.5 inches; 192 x 140 mm). [2, title], [16, epistle dedicatory and to the reader], [2, blank], [2, title], 217, [3, contents]. With two folding engraved maps by William Rogers and ten full-page woodcuts. Woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials throughout.

    Late-eighteenth- or early-nineteenth-century polished calf, two double fillet borders rolled in gilt, armorial centerpieces stamped in gilt (the device of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet), spine lettered and filleted in gilt in compartments, five raised bands, gilt board edges and turn-ins, all edges gilt. Previous owner's inscription at the end of the epistle dedicatory (the Reverend William Cole, 1745). Engraved armorial bookplate affixed to front pastedown; printed twentieth-century pictorial bookplate of renowned African and Near Eastern scholar John Ralph Willis to front free endpaper. Nineteenth-century shelf label affixed to top outer corner of front free endpaper recto. Some light foxing and soiling throughout, primarily marginal. Second title with some minor cockling to lower inner corner; first title with some soiling. Boards and extremities lightly abraded, and corners slightly bumped, exposing pasteboards. Joints starting but boards still holding tight. A small (0.25 x 0.0625 inch) bit of loss to middle of L4. Second map with three tiny round red dots (possibly old wax), oriented as if they are triangular vertices. Bound without Rogers' third map, as is sometimes the case. Overall, a very good copy, with notably clean and bright woodcuts.

    A venerable copy of this important, rare work, one of the earliest books about Africa in English. A Report of the Kingdome of Congo has come up at auction just three times since 1971 and is rarely found complete; this copy includes the rare first title page and blank leaf A1.

    Published by Pigafetta in 1591 from information derived primarily from Lopez's accounts (including, famously, tales of African Amazons and the cannibalistic Anzique tribe), Richard Hakluyt requested this English translation shortly thereafter; the work was popular in its time and remained an important source long after its initial publication, reprinted in Purchas his Pilgrimes, Part II (1625) and in A Collection of Voyages and Travels (1745). From the Professor John Ralph Willis Collection of Rare Africana.


    Cox I, p. 354. STC 16805.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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