Auction 159, Lot 400

Scarce Two-Sheet Map of British Isles in Full Original Color

"[On 2 Sheets] Britannicarum Insularum Vetus Descriptio", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Britain

Period: 1590 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.1 x 14.1 inches
48.5 x 35.8 cm

Fabulous two-sheet map of ancient Britain that combines geographical information from Mercator and Saxton with ancient knowledge from Diodorus, Siculus, Plinius, Appianus, Tacitus, Caesar and Strabo. The map is filled with ancient place names, Hadrian's Wall, and Wall of Pius (mislabeled Severi Murus). Probably engraved by Jan Wierix and richly embellished with fabulous large ships, a raging sea battle, and four elaborate strapwork cartouches. This two-part map only appeared in the early editions; being replaced by a single plate in 1595. Only 710 are estimated by Van den Broecke to have been printed. Latin text on verso.

References: Shirley (BI to 1650) #160; Van den Broecke #190-191.

Condition: A

A nice impression with full original color on watermarked paper. There is light foxing primarily confined to the blank margins in the top sheet, and a 1" tear in the right blank margin of the bottom sheet, which has been closed on verso with archival material.

Estimate: $3,500 - $4,500

Sold for: $4,500

Closed on 9/14/2016