Didactic Manuscript Map of Africa
Date of Creation:
An exceptional manuscript composition most likely done in, or for, a German school classroom. The central map of Africa is surrounded by finely detailed vignettes including a coastal view of the mountains from the south-east coast, exotic natural history with a rendition of Francois Le Vaillant's famous giraffe illustration, a decorated Egyptian sarcophagus, a village of "Hottentots", several figures labeled Kaffern (or Kaffir), and portraits of Muley Molut, an early Moroccan warrior king and Johann Flitza, a Dutch preacher and writer.
Although the map is unsigned, the hand, style and design of this work are all comparable to a signed manuscript map of Europe by Odo Staab dated 1813; and is one of a set of five continents (including the Americas, Asia, and Australia). In 1983 the five were offered for sale in New York by Justin G. Schiller. The Australia sheet is now owned by the State Library of New South Wales, and according to Maggie Patton the Asia sheet sold for £1680 at Christies London in 2005 (Sale 7041, lot 58); Europe was offered at Swann Galleries in 2018.