Novae Guineae Forma & Situs
34.5 x 21.5 cms
"This map appeared for the first time in the second edition of de Jode's atlas Speculum Orbis Terrae, Antverpiae... 1593. Though the map is entitled Novae Gvineae, only the upper part shows New Guinea: the lower section shows a wholly imaginative mountainous, Australian north-coast. On it is depicted a dramatic encounter between a hunter, armed with bow and arrows, and a griffon, a lion and a snake. In a way, this can be called the first printed map of Australia.
The legend on New Guinea, apart from repeating the old complaint that it is not known whether it is an island or part of a continent, states: 'New Guinea is so called by the sailors because those coasts, the nature of the country, are similar to the African Guinea.'
The matter of New Guinea and the south-land is taken up even more extensively in the text of the atlas (fol. 12v): 'This region is even today almost unknown, because after the first and second voyages all have avoided sailing thither so that it is doubtful even until today whether it is a continent or an island. The sailors called this region New Guinea because its coasts, state and conditions are similar in many respects to the African Guinea. Andreas Consalius seems to call it Peccinacolij. After this region the huge Australian land follows which - as soon as it is once known - will represent a fifth continent, so vast and immense is it deemed. In the east the Salomon Islands join up, in the north the S. Lazarus Archipelago; it also takes its beginning at two or three degrees south of the equator. In the west it is, if not an island, connected up with the Australian continent.' "
"De Jode's rare map of New Guinea and Terra Australis Incognita is considered by some authorities to represent the first printed map of Australia.
One of the remaining contentious issues on the history of the discovery of Australia is whether or not the Dutch were the first European nation to land on Australian soil. Many argue that it was indeed the Portuguese who landed first. Some say it was a little known French voyage that should claim the prize.
De Jode's extraordinary map, showing New Guinea, the Salomon Islands and a large fictitious northern Australia, is frequently used to illustrate knowledge of Australia prior to the Dutch landing on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in 1606. Tooley notes, 'It may be called the first map of Australia', while Schilder states, 'In a way, this can be called the first printed map of Australia'. Certainly the accompanying text lends weight to this viewpoint. The text from the atlas states .... 'After this region, the huge Australian land follows which - as soon as it is known - will represent a fifth continent ...'
As with Montanus' map [of the world], the depiction of an 'Australian landmass' here probably represents no more than the charting of the tip of 'Terra Australis Incognita'. Such a portrayal of the Southland can be seen on the 1570 world map by Ortelius. De Jode's map does however hold a significant place in the history of the charting of Australia.
The map is decorated with sea monsters, mermaids and ships. The large southern mainland is resplendent with a lion, griffin and a spearhurling warrior.
Gerard originally issued his atlas in 1578 to compete with Ortelius' atlas with little success. In 1593, two years after his death, Gerard's son Cornelius re-issued the atlas. This map first appeared in that posthumous edition and appears on the same sheet as 'Quivirae Regnum'."