Catalog Archive

Auction 168, Lot 467

Rare Decorative Map of the Low Countries in Contemporary Color

"Inferioris Germaniae Provinciarum Nova Descriptio", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Low Countries

Period: 1609 (circa)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

22.1 x 16.3 inches
56.1 x 41.4 cm

This handsome and decorative map of the Low Countries was first published in the 1608 edition of the Theatrum, and only appeared in 5 subsequent editions. The map extends from the Waddeneilanden in the north to Calais, France in the south, and as far east as Dusseldorf and Trier, Germany. The map is densely engraved with towns, rivers, and political boundaries, however the numerous embellishments are what draw the eye. A strapwork distance scale at bottom features a cartographer with measuring dividers, and another strapwork cartouche at left provides a legend. The elaborate title cartouche is flanked by Minerva and Mercury and surrounded by 17 coats of arms. The North Sea and Ijsselmeer are filled with ships (some engaged in battle), sea monsters, and Neptune riding a hippocampus. This is the second state, with only Latin text in the title cartouche. Latin text on verso, published between 1609-12. Van den Broecke estimates that only 300 copies of this edition were printed, and only 1050 of all editions combined.

References: Van den Broecke #59.2.

Condition: B

Contemporary color with moderate toning, a few minor abrasions, and archival repairs to short centerfold separations and a short tear all confined to the blank margins. Professionally remargined at left with a small portion of the neatline at top left replaced in facsimile. Right margin is narrow, as issued.

Estimate: $1,500 - $1,800


Closed on 6/6/2018