Catalog Archive

Auction 117, Lot 4

"[Lot of 5 ] [Untitled - World] [and] America [and] Asia [and] Africa [and] Europa", Ortelius/Vrients

Subject: World & Continents

Period: 1602 (published)

Publication: Breve compendio dal theatro

Color: Hand Color

5 x 3.4 inches
12.7 x 8.6 cm

This beautiful set of miniature maps is from an Italian edition of Ortelius' pocket atlas. After the death of Abraham Ortelius in 1598, some of the last editions of the folio Theatrum Orbis Terrarum were published by Jan Baptist Vrients. He also acquired the plates of Philip Galle and the Arsenius brothers and published several editions of the pocket version, to which he added some of his own plates. Italian text on verso.

1) This double hemisphere world map is one of Vrients' additions. It is based on Jodocus Hondius' map, but is presented in an entirely original background composed of a pastoral scene with a church under dawn sky. The other maps are from the Arsenius brothers' plates; each beautifully engraved with stippled seas, sea monsters, and ships.
2) The map of America is a delicately engraved depiction of Ortelius' cartography and strapwork surround with a pair of sea monsters and a gorgeous ship. The cartography of South America shows an uncommon bulge in Brazil labeled Orellana, named after Francisco de Orellana, who descended the Amazon in 1542.
3) Asia depicts a simplified version of the continent with depictions of an exotic elephant and camels in the interior.
4) The map of Africa has a particularly interesting version of the origins of the Nile. It is shown flowing from a single large lake that also forms the headwaters of rivers flowing west to the Atlantic and east to the Indian Ocean. A large, dramatic ship is shown in the waters off of Capetown.
5) The map of Europe

References: World - Shirley #231 and King (1st ed.) p. 75; America - Burden #143; Asia - King (1st ed.) p. 74.

Condition: A

Some damp stains and minor paper damage in blank margins. The world map has paper added in bottom margin, not affecting map.

Estimate: $3,000 - $3,500


Closed on 12/6/2006