Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 73

"Voragine di Moskestroom / Onde Formate Dalla Voragine di Moskestrom",

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany

Period: 1696 (circa)


Color: Black & White

10 x 15.1 inches
25.4 x 38.4 cm

This very interesting and uncommon copper engraving, probably done by Vincenzo Coronelli, depicts the swirling currents, called voragine or vortex, and the large waves that occur in a narrow strait on the Norwegian coast. This famous vortex, the Moskestrom, is a system of tidal eddies and whirlpools and has been featured in many historical accounts, generally exaggerated as it is here. It was first described more than 2000 years ago by the Greek historian Pytheas, and later, it was marked on many nautical maps with warnings and dramatic descriptions. The Swedish bishop Olaus Magnus showed it on his 1539 map "Carta Marina," ascribing it to divine force and describing it as stronger than the Sicilian Charybdis. Petter Dass, a Norwegian priest, wrote a detailed factual description in his 1685 topographical poem, "The Trumpet of Nordland." The Moskestrom, widely known for centuries for its strength and dangerous whirlpools, has inspired many other authors, notably Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne, who both portrayed it inaccurately as a single massive whirlpool in their works. This example is uncolored as issued and is decorated with a compass rose, two title cartouches and several ships. A very beautiful, ornate and separately printed border further embellishes this fascinating engraving.


Condition: A

Very crisp and even impression with minor damp stain in upper margin not affecting image. A small fold separation has been repaired with archival tape and does not affect the image.

Estimate: $200 - $300

Sold for: $150

Closed on 3/6/2007