Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 13

Matching Set of Miniature Ortelius Maps

"[Lot of 5] Typus Orbis Terrarum [and] Americae sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio [and] Africae Tabula Nova [and] Asia [and] Europa", Ortelius/Galle

Subject: World & Continents

Period: 1590 (published)

Publication: Epitome du Theatre du Monde d'Abraham Ortelius

Color: Hand Color

4.3 x 3.1 inches
10.9 x 7.9 cm
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This matching set of miniature world and continents maps are reduced-size versions of Ortelius' folio maps. The first pocket version of Ortelius' Theatrum was published by Philippe Galle in 1577 as Spieghel der Werelt. Galle began a new edition with new plates, commonly known as the Epitome, in 1588. Galle's miniature atlas was quite popular, and was published in editions until 1602. From 1583 he gradually introduced a new set of maps, both adding to and replacing the originals. The plates were then passed to Jan B. Vrients, who retouched some of the plates and published the final editions of the Epitome in 1601 and 1602. French text on verso.

A. Typus Orbis Terrarum. This map was reduced from Ortelius' folio map of 1587. While North America is still a bit too broad, South America has a more correct form. The Northwest Passage, taken from Mercator, is still prominent and there are large landmasses at both poles. References: Shirley #161; Van der Krogt (Vol. III) #0001:332A.

B. Americae sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio. This is a reduced version of Ortelius' 1570 folio map of the Americas. The characteristic bulges in the western coastlines of both continents and the huge southern continent are instantly recognizable. Ornamented with two sailing ships and a delicate floral surround. References: Burden #48; Van der Krogt (Vol. III) #9000:331.

C. Africae Tabula Nova. The map is decorated with three sailing ships, a sea monster, and fully engraved seas. The most notable change made from the folio map to its miniature version is the removal of Lake Zaflan, the smaller of the two Ptolemaic source lakes for the Nile River. References: Betz #18; Van der Krogt (Vol. III) #8600:331.

D. Asia. This map is based on Ortelius' great map of Asia that was the standard map of Asia for more than forty years. Japan is in a 'kite' form taken from Jesuit sources and the islands of the East Indies are not well placed, due to the secrecy of voyages to the region. The Caspian Sea is oriented in the wrong direction and a long mountain range extends from Persia to northern China. References: Van der Krogt (Vol. III) #8000:331.

E. Europa. This simple map of Europe focuses on the major rivers, mountain ranges, and cities in Europe. Greenland stretches across the top of the map. References: Van der Krogt (Vol. III) #1000:332.

References: King (2nd Ed.) pp. 64-65 & 88-89.

Condition: B+

Nice impressions with light toning and soiling.

Estimate: $1,500 - $1,800

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 9/11/2019