Auction 103, Lot 500

"Africa ex magna orbis terre descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris desumpta", Mercator, Gerard (the younger)

Subject: Africa

Period: 1606 (circa)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas sive Cosmographicae

Color: Hand Color

18.5 x 15 inches
47 x 38.1 cm

Compiled from Gerard Mercator's world map of 1569, this map was drawn by Mercator's grandson (also named Gerard) in 1595, and published later by Hondius. The map is typical of 16th century cartography with considerable fantastic detail in the interior. The depiction of the Nile is based on Ptolemy's geography with some complex modifications from various sources, including Abyssinian monks. The source of the Nile is shown as a series of lakes located in the Lune montes just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Another branch of the Nile flows from the west, with this system rambling through what is the Sahara Desert. In Abissini, Mercator shows Prester John sitting on his throne. The engraving, especially the boldly engraved oceans, beautiful calligraphy, and strapwork cartouche (surmounted by two satyrs) make this a decorative masterpiece. Latin text on verso.

References: Norwich #21.

Condition: A

Beautiful old color with light overall toning. Old repair in bottom margin, small printer's crease in lower margin just entering map, and a tiny tear in top margin, neither affecting map.

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,800

Sold for: $1,300

Closed on 6/11/2003