Catalog Archive
Auction 102, Lot 48

"Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio", Mercator, Gerard

Subject: North Pole

Period: 1619 (published)


Color: Hand Color

15.5 x 14.5 inches
39.4 x 36.8 cm

Superb example of this influential map; the first devoted to the Arctic. The hemisphere is surrounded by a floral design with four roundels in each corner. These contain the title, the Faeroe Isles, the Shetland Isles, and the mythical island of Frisland. The North Pole is shown according to legend as a large rock in a giant whirlpool and surrounded by four islands that are separated by rivers. The magnetic north is depicted as a separate island rock just outside the polar mass. In North America is an very early reference to California (California regio, sola fama Hispanis nota), curiously shown north of the El streto de Anian. The map depicts the attempts of Frobisher and Davis to locate the northern passages to Asia. Second state of the plate with updates in the region north of Russia to include Spitzbergen and correct the depiction of Nova Zemla. French text on verso.

References: Burden #88; Kershaw #23c. Koeman Me 26A & 26B.

Condition: A

Fine crisp impression with stunning original color. A bit of faint toning at bottom centerfold, otherwise very fine.

Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000

Sold for: $2,200

Closed on 3/5/2003