Catalog Archive
Auction 146, Lot 15

Mercator's Double-Hemisphere World Map

"Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio…", Mercator, Rumold

Subject: World

Period: 1587 (dated)

Publication: Atlas Sive Cosmographicae Meditationes de Fabrica…

Color: Hand Color

20.7 x 11.4 inches
52.6 x 29 cm
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An elaborate strapwork border surrounds this beautiful double-hemisphere map, and an armillary sphere and 32-point compass rose are tucked between the hemispheres. Rumold Mercator based this map on his father's great world map of 1569. The North Pole is depicted as a landmass surrounding a sea from which four rivers radiate and there is a well depicted Northwest Passage. The huge Terra Australis is shown as a part of Tierra del Fuego, and the lands of Lucach, Maletur and Beach (from the travel account of Marco Polo) are noted along the coast in the vicinity of present day Australia with a large island labeled Iava Minor located in the same region. Japan is shown in a kite-shaped configuration, with the fictitious Satyrorum insule (Satyr's Island) shown above. South America has a bulge on its southwest coast, and New Guinea is depicted in a large, circular configuration. The map embodies many ancient authorities and is a wonderful view of classical cartography. Cracks in the copper plate are visible in the title, indicating a later publication circa 1619. French text on verso.

References: Shirley #157; Portinaro & Knirsch XLVIII; Suarez (Veil) #31, plt. XI.

Condition: B

Watermarked paper with original color that has been partially refreshed and a few professionally repaired cracks at bottom right caused by the oxidation of the green pigment, with a tiny amount of image replaced in facsimile. There are several separations and small holes along centerfold, as well as a few adjacent tears that have all been professionally repaired, with a small amount of image in facsimile along centerfold.

Estimate: $5,000 - $6,500


Closed on 9/4/2013