Antique woodcut map of the African continent. Printed in Paris by Nicolas Chesneau, Michel Sonnius in 1575.

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Reference 11745



Ortelius' Africa Map as a Woodcut. Rare.

A large and scarce woodcut map of Africa by Francois de Belleforest. Based on Ortelius' map of Africa from Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, but much rarer than the Ortelius map. Extremely fine cut for a woodcut map.

This woodcut was published in La Cosmographie Universelle de tout le monde, printed 1575 in two volumes in Paris by Nicolas Chesneau and Michel Sonnius with the French text by Francois de Belleforest. It is a French version of Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia Universalis. Most of the woodcut maps and drawings of Münster's work were discarded and new woodblocks have been made. The geographical information is mainly based on Abraham Ortelius and Braun & Hogenberg, but also comes from unknown sources. All maps and views of Paris edition by Belleforest are very rare since there was one edition in one language only. The woodcuts of the Basel edition by Seb. Münster were used in 46 different editions.


CartographerFrancois de Belleforest
TitleAfricae Tabula Nova
Publisher, YearNicolas Chesneau, Michel Sonnius, Paris, 1575
Plate Size36.9 x 49.4 cm (14.5 x 19.4 inches)
Sheet Size40.8 x 49.9 cm (16.1 x 19.6 inches)


Previously folded to fit into the volume. Staining in upper half. Lower right corner restored and redrawn (~1x1 cm). A large tear to the lower left backed. A fine and dark impression.


François de Belleforest was a French writer, translator and poet during the Renaissance. In 1568 he became historian of King Henry III, but had to give up soon because of inaccuracies. He worked as a writer and translator and transferred the Cosmography of Sebastian Munster into French. La Cosmographie universelle de tout le monde was published 1575 in Paris and was created in collaboration with the two Parisian publishers Nicolas Chesneau and Michel Sonnius. He has not used Sebastian Munster as sole source, several maps and views are based on Ortelius and Braun / Hogenberg, but also own work and unknown sources are found in the important work.

The picture shows the bust of Belleforest in Samatan (Gers, France). Source: Wikipedia, BastienM.

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Francois de Belleforest: Africae Tabula Nova.
Antique woodcut map of the African continent. Printed in Paris by Nicolas Chesneau, Michel Sonnius in 1575.

Africa Continent - Belleforest, Francois de - Africae Tabula Nova

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