Auction 127, Lot 750

"Africae Tabula Nova", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Africa

Period: 1570 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.7 x 14.7 inches
50 x 37.3 cm

This striking map is one of the cornerstone maps of Africa and remained the standard map of Africa well into the seventeenth century. It was designed by Ortelius from elements of contemporary maps by Gastaldi, Mercator, and Forlani and used several recent sources: Ramusio in Navigationi et Viaggi (1550), Joao de Barros in Decadas da Asia (1552), and Leo Africanus in Historiale description de l'Afrique (1556). The majority of the nomenclature is taken from Gastaldi. The Nile is based on the Ptolemaic concept, originating from two large lakes south of the equator. Curiously Ortelius did not represent the Mountains of the Moon (a prominent feature on most prior maps) and the twin lakes are not named. Ortelius introduced two important changes to the shape of the continent on this map; the Cape of Good Hope is more pointed, and the eastward extension of the continent was reduced significantly. The map is decorated with a strap work title cartouche, a grand sea battle (copied from Diego Gutierez' wall map of the Americas), and sea monsters. This beautiful map was engraved by Frans Hogenberg who engraved many of the maps for the Theatrum. The copperplate was used for the entire publication life of the Theatrum and a crack in the plate appeared on the plate from about 1602 onwards. Italian text on verso with the page number 4 indicating it was published in the 1612 edition.

References: Betz #12.6; Van de Broecke #8; Norwich #10 :Tooley (AF) p. 88.

Condition: A+

Fine with stunning original color. There are linen hinge remnants on the verso.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $2,400

Closed on 2/25/2009