Auction 116, Lot 800

"Africa ex magna orbis terre descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris desumpta", Mercator/Hondius

Subject: Africa

Period: 1615 (circa)


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 the legendary Christian King 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. French text on verso.

References: Norwich #21.

Condition: A

Beautiful, sharp impression and fine later color in the correct period style. Professional repair of lower centerfold.

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,800

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 9/20/2006