Catalog Archive
Auction 145, Lot 747

"Africa ex Magna Orbis Terre Descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris Desumpta, Studio & Industria G. M. Iunioris", Mercator, Gerard (the younger)

Subject: Africa

Period: 1613 (circa)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas sive Cosmographicae

Color: Hand Color

18.4 x 14.8 inches
46.7 x 37.6 cm
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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, published between 1613-16.

References: Betz #31; Norwich #21.

Condition: B+

Lovely original color on watermarked paper with wide margins. There are a few minor spots and some small cracks caused by the oxidation of the green pigment, all of which have been reinforced on verso with archival material.

Estimate: $1,400 - $1,600


Closed on 6/12/2013