Catalog Archive
Auction 152, Lot 382

Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Several Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Arctic & Scandinavia

Period: 1588 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.3 x 14.2 inches
49 x 36.1 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 fourth of seven states, prior to the addition of coastal names along North Pole island. Spanish text on verso.

References: Van den Broecke #160.4; Ginsberg #24; Burden #40.

Condition: B+

Full original color that has been partially refreshed on watermarked paper with light soiling. There are professional repairs to a centerfold separation that enters 4" into map at bottom, a tiny worm hole in the North Pole, and several tears confined to the blank margins. There are a few minute holes caused by some overzealous manuscript writing on verso.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,300

Closed on 2/18/2015