Auction 114, Lot 44

"Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio", Mercator, Gerard

Subject: North Pole

Period: 1633 (circa)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas sive Cosmographicae…

Color: Hand Color

Size:
15.5 x 14.5 inches
39.4 x 36.8 cm

This influential map was 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 a 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 including undefined coastlines to one of the islands surrounding the pole and Nova Zemla. French text on verso.

References: Burden #88; Kershaw #24.

Condition: B

Original color with a couple of unobtrusive spots else very good. Minor repair on centerfold.

Estimate: $2,200 - $2,500

Sold for: $1,600

Closed on 3/1/2006

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