Auction 139, Lot 6

"[Lot of 6] Orbis Antiqui Tabulae Geographicae Secundum Cl. Ptolemaeum, cum Indice Philologico Absolutissimo…", Ptolemy/Mercator

Subject: Title Pages

Period: 1730 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

12 x 19 inches
30.5 x 48.3 cm

This lot includes the frontispiece accompanied by two title pages, the preface on two pages, and the list of maps in the atlas. These are from the final edition of Mercator's Ptolemaic atlas, published over 130 years after his death. Although Mercator is most renowned today for the projection he popularized and for first using the term Atlas for a collection of maps, he devoted much of his life to his Ptolemaic maps.

The frontispiece features four female figures surrounding a globe. The females are believed to be Poesy holding a trumpet and lyre, Pictura with a palette, Geometria with surveying instruments, and a winged angel representing History or Geography. Above the scene flies the angel of Fame with her two trumpets, who directs her attention to the portraits of the ancient authors pictured in the medallions set atop the obelisk. Sea and river gods sit in the bottom of the scene, with the engraver's imprint, Jan van Vianen, just below the sea god's foot.

The preface features an engraving above it which depicts an allegorical scene showing two Oriental gentlemen, Fame blowing her trumpet, and personifications of three of the four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, with a mirror and snake; Justice, with scales and a sword; and Fortitude, with a liberty cap.

References: Shirley (TP) #14B.

Condition: B+

Light soiling with a minute amount of insect damage in blank margin, far from image.

Estimate: $350 - $450

Sold for: $180

Closed on 2/15/2012