The iconography of the four continents as well as other emblematic representations was first codified by Cesare Ripa (c.1560-1622), an aesthetician who worked for Cardinal Anton Maria Salviati. Ripa's Iconologia was first published in 1593 and was extremely influential among artists and craftsmen throughout Europe. In 1779, the Scottish architect George Richardson (1737/8-c.1813) published his own Iconology; or a Collection of Emblematical Figures in a two volume set. His publications had many subscribers and it could easily have been the inspiration for the offered lot. Notably, each Continent's attributes tend to reflect the current world order with Asia, America and Africa depicted with the raw materials that provided Europe's great wealth.