Auction 136, Lot 722

"Africa ex magna orbis terre descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris desumpta", Mercator, Gerard (the younger)

Subject: Africa

Period: 1607 (circa)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas sive Cosmographicae

Color: Hand Color

Size:
18.5 x 14.8 inches
47 x 37.6 cm

Compiled from Gerard Mercator's world map of 1569, this rendition 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. Mercator adds a lake named Sac. Haf lac, from the 1507 Waldseemuller world map. This lake feeds both the Zambere River and the Nile. In Abissini, the legendary Christian King Prester John sits on his throne. The boldly engraved oceans, beautiful calligraphy, and strapwork cartouche (surmounted by two satyrs) make this a decorative masterpiece. French text on verso.

References: Betz #31; Norwich #21.

Condition: B+

Original color with some hairline cracks in green areas. Overall the paper is still supple.

Estimate: $1,400 - $1,700

Sold for: $1,000

Closed on 6/1/2011

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