This rare color engraving by Filippo Morghens (b. 1730) of the Bay of Naples, plate number 38 as printed in the top right corner of the map, is one of a series of views of the Kingdom of Naples by Morghens that was created in his Naples studio in 1772. Morghens' name appears in the lower right corner of the map. An elaborate decorative cartouche distinguishes the artful map with a figure on one shield, heraldic symbols on the other and a Neapolitan Mastiff in the scene, flanked by an ancient stone pillar bearing Egyptian symbols. Words on the map are artfully laid out, with the name of the Mediterranean sea graphically broken into five sections that follow the contour of the Neapolitan coastline. The map's border is highly decorative with interlocking elements and several colors. The elegant compass rose is multi-colored and appears almost three dimensional.The map describes ancient Naples and illustrates archaeological sites, homes of historic poets and other important figures and each historic location is labeled. The artist has drawn the landscape with mountains, lakes and cultivated fields, connected throughout by winding roads. The season appears to be either before or after the harvest as the fields are shown with few crops and the countryside is somewhat bare.
The measurements of the page itself are 32.5" x 22" and the deep plate impression measures 27 1/2" x 19" as noted above.
On the reverse are two hand written words or more likely a prior owner's name.
An example of Icon Sinus Baiarum, 1772, is described in the Spanish language catalogue of Real Academia Bellas Artes San Fernando as Map No. 32. In addition, in 2012 in an art exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art titled "The English Prize: the capture of the Westmorland: an episode of the Grand Tour" (exhibition: Oxford, New Haven, 2012), edited by Maria Dolores Sanchez-Jauregui and Scott Wilcox. New Haven and London, 2012) this map is listed by title. "The English Prize" refers to the merchant ship Westmorland that was captured in 1779 by two French warships as it was sailing from Livorno to London. The ship and contents were declared a prize of war by the French. The art on board represented items purchased by British travelers on business or their grand tour of Europe. Spanish merchants bought and then immediately sold the cargo. King Carlos III of Spain purchased much of the art and donated the art to the Royal Academy in Madrid and other Spanish museums. Some items in the lot were labeled "P.Y." for "Presa Ynglesa" or "English Prize". An example of the Morghens engraved map Bay of Naples, pictured above, was on loan for the Yale Center for British Art 2012 exhibition.
An example of this scarce map may also be found in the collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.