The "Lafreri-school" of mapmakers is the umbrella term frequently applied to group of Italian cartographers, mapmakers, engravers and publishers working in Venice and Rome from about 1540 to about 1580 (with some of their printing plates being used well into the seventeenth century). Giacomo Gastaldi was the leading figure of this school, and one of the greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century. Many of the maps published by the school were compiled by Gastaldi, and issued under the imprint of the various publishers of the period, with or without due credit. The cartographic influence of Gastaldi is evident, but this example has no indication of the engraver or publisher, with the lower panels blank. A second state inserts the imprint of (Nicolo?) Valegio. Although these maps are notoriously difficult to date, within North America is included toponymic reference to the ill-fated French settlements in the Southeast, of 1565. With the elaborate borders, this is visually one of the most striking Italian world maps of the day.
Shirley and Karrow record only two institutional copies of this first state, in the British Library and John Carter Brown Library. An example of the second state was sold at Sotheby’s in 2000, while Shirley and Karrow together record only one other institutional copy in the Newberry Library.
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