The City of Loango

Description

This engraving depicted the port of Loango along the Loango Coast, including a king's palace, wives' residences, wine house, banquet house and gardens. Some prisoners were about to be executed in the lower righthand corner. Thomas Astley (d. 1759) was a British bookseller and publisher who never went to Africa. His imagined localities and illustrations of Africa were informed by a library of travel books at his disposal. Astley took this image from the work of Olfert Dapper (1636–1689), who was a Dutch physician and writer. He wrote about world history and geography, although he never travelled outside the Netherlands. In an informed discussion of Dapper as an historical source, Adam Jones explains how there is virtually no evidence that "Dapper took much interest in what sort of visual material was to accompany his text, and that it was the publisher, Van Meurs, who probably did all the engraving himself." Even those these images have been used as historical evidence in modern works, Jones concludes that "few of the plates showing human beings and artefacts are of any value. . . [and] originated solely from Van Meurs' imagination” (see "Decompiling Dapper: A Preliminary Search for Evidence," History in Africa 17 (1990): p. 187-190).

Source

"Plate XVII" in Thomas Astley (ed.), A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels, vol. 3 (London: Thomas Astley, 1745-1747) facing p. 215.

Creator

Astley, Thomas

Language

English

Rights

Image is in the public domain. Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.

Identifier

Astley020

Spatial Coverage

Africa--West Central North--Loango

Citation

"The City of Loango", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed June 19, 2021, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2115
This engraving depicted the port of Loango along the Loango Coast, including a king's palace, wives' residences, wine house, banquet house and gardens. Some prisoners were about to be executed in the lower righthand corner. Thomas Astley (d. 1759) was a British bookseller and publisher who never went to Africa. His imagined localities and illustrations of Africa were informed by a library of travel books at his disposal. Astley took this image from the work of Olfert Dapper (1636–1689), who was a Dutch physician and writer. He wrote about world history and geography, although he never travelled outside the Netherlands. In an informed discussion of Dapper as an historical source, Adam Jones explains how there is virtually no evidence that "Dapper took much interest in what sort of visual material was to accompany his text, and that it was the publisher, Van Meurs, who probably did all the engraving himself." Even those these images have been used as historical evidence in modern works, Jones concludes that "few of the plates showing human beings and artefacts are of any value. . . [and] originated solely from Van Meurs' imagination” (see "Decompiling Dapper: A Preliminary Search for Evidence," History in Africa 17 (1990): p. 187-190).
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