Catalog Archive
Auction 161, Lot 519

NO RESERVE - Early Example of Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip. ", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Scandinavia

Period: 1572 (circa)

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 first state with German text on verso, published in 1572 or 1573.

References: Van den Broecke #160; Ginsberg #24; Burden #40.

Condition: B

Original color on watermarked paper with light color offsetting and occasional light scattered foxing. There is a 1" centerfold separation at top and bottom, and a 1.5" edge tear at bottom that enters the title cartouche, all of which have been closed on verso with archival materials.

Estimate: $1,500 - $1,800

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 2/8/2017