Catalog Archive
Auction 148, Lot 445

Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Several Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Arctic & Scandinavia

Period: 1573 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.3 x 14.1 inches
49 x 35.8 cm
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Ortelius based this influential map on the work of earlier authorities including Mercator, Zeno and Magnus. Of particular interest are the mythical islands of Brasil, Frisland, Drogeo, Icaria, and St. Brendan. Part of Mercator's imaginary polar continent is depicted with a Latin note that it is inhabited by pygmies. Iceland (Islant, Thule) is basically unchanged from Mercator´s map of Europe from 1554 with the shape originated by Zeno. Greenland is separated from Europe by a wide sea and a portion of North America appears in the upper left corner with the name Estotilant. The map is adorned with a variety of very inventive creatures including a half-man, half-sea creature playing a lute. This is the second state, prior to the addition of the dot on the second "i" in "Liuoniae." Dutch text on verso.

References: Van den Broecke #160.2; Ginsberg #24; Burden #40.

Condition: B+

Bold original color on watermarked paper with minor soiling and a few small creases. There are damp stains in the blank margins that just enter the neatline at the corners of the map.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $3,250

Closed on 2/19/2014