Auction 173, Lot 222

First Edition of Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Arctic & Scandinavia

Period: 1570 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.3 x 14.1 inches
49 x 35.8 cm

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 fifth state with eight place names added to the top right coastline of North Pole island. Latin text on verso and page number 45.

References: Van den Broecke #160.5; Ginsberg #24; Burden #40.

Condition: B+

A nice impression with a pair of worm tracks adjacent to the lower centerfold that have been archivally repaired on verso with a tiny portion of image in facsimile. Short centerfold separations at top and bottom have also been closed on verso with archival materials. Light dampstains are confined to the blank margins.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,300

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 6/5/2019