LINSCHOTEN, IAN HUYGEN VAN. His Discours of Voyages unto ye Easte & West Indies. Devided into Foure Bookes. London: [John Windet for] John Wolfe (1598). Folio, 296 x 197 mm. (11 5/8 x 7 5/8 in.), contemporary dark brown calf, covers with two gilt fillet borders, inner border with fleurons at corners, at center the arms of JOHN WHITGIFT, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY blocked in gilt, rebacked in morocco, corners restored, lacking ties, 19th-century marbled endpapers, edges stained red, joints and extremities rubbed, inner margin of engraved title renewed, catching platemark and outer rule border, occasional light foxing or darkening mainly to text leaves, bifolia Ee3.4 and Ii1.6 severely browned, light dampstain in quire K, small hole to M5 and X6 each catching 3 letters, lower corners of Y2 and Y3 torn away catching a letter of catchword, folding world map with neatly repaired one-inch tear at guard, 4 maps supplied (coasts of China, Guinea, Peru, and Molucca Islands), China map with expertly repaired 6-inch tear and a few other small repairs, Guinea map with repaired 4-inch tear and 2 borders shaved, Molucca map partly discolored and with 2-inch repaired tear and tiny internal fold break, Peru map and folding Goa and Angra view-plans expertly backed in Japanese tissue, the plans with 3 borders shaved, Angra plan with 7-inch repaired tear, Africa map browned along sheet juncture from paste, with 2 repairs at edges of image, and upper margin restored, short marginal tear to Persia map. FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH, translated by William Philip, 4 books in one, continuously paginated, engraved general title by William Rogers (Johnson, p. 52, Rogers no. 3), letterpress divisional titles to books 2-4 each with a different engraved map vignette (Congo, double-hemisphere world [Shirley 182], and Spain), mostly black letter, double column, 12 folding maps and plates comprising 9 maps on 11 sheets, including a world map after Ortelius (Shirley 167), and 3 plates with views of St. Helena and the island of Ascension, 4 woodcut maps in text, woodcut initials, factotums and head-piece ornaments, this copy with 30 INSERTED DOUBLE-PAGE ENGRAVED PLATES AND 2 FOLDING VIEW-PLANS FROM THE ORIGINAL DUTCH EDITION, consisting of genre scenes, costumes, and flora and fauna, by Joannes and Baptista van Doetecum, and folding view-plans of Goa and Angra (Azores). Alden & Landis 598/57; Borba de Moraes, p. 488; Church 321; Hill, p. 182; Sabin 41374; STC 15691; Streeter sale I:31.
Linschoten voyaged to Goa in 1583 and 1589 and took part in William Barent's second voayge to the Kara Sea in 1594-95. His Itinerario was "the first work outside of Portugal and Spain to provide detailed practical information on how to get to and carry on the trade with America and India. The work was indispensable to sailors on the route to the Indies; it provided a dictionary of exotic commodities, of national trading methods, etc. Linschoten's work, along with Hakluyt's, served as a direct stimulus to the building of the vast English and Dutch overseas empires" (Streeter sale). Legend has it that copies were given to every ship sailing to India to use as a log-book. Most of the maps and views of the English edition are re-engravings, with captions in Latin and English, of the plates of the original Dutch edition of 1595-96.
Provenance: John Whitgift (1530?-1604), archbishop of Canterbury (1583-1604) -- Marquess of Hertford, Ragley Hall, bookplate (sale, Sotheby's, 13 February 1969, lot 418 [imperfect, lacking 4 of the English maps and the Goa and Angra plans, later supplied], 900 to Quaritch).