Catalog Archive
Auction 151, Lot 443

Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Several Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Arctic Ocean

Period: 1603 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.2 x 14.3 inches
48.8 x 36.3 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 seventh and final state. Latin text on verso.

References: Van den Broecke #160.7; Ginsberg #24; Burden #40.

Condition: B+

A strong impression with light toning, a few spots of printer's ink residue, a minute hole in the northern ship, and a small abrasion to the east of Frisland.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 11/19/2014