Catalog Archive
Auction 180, Lot 389

Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Arctic & Scandinavia

Period: 1572 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

Size:
19.2 x 14 inches
48.8 x 35.6 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 second state with a triangular dot added at the end of the title. French text on verso.

References: Burden #40; Ginsberg #24; Van den Broecke #160.2.

Condition: A

A crisp impression with gilt highlights on a bright sheet with a bunch of grapes watermark. There are a couple of tiny spots of foxing and light, marginal soiling.

Estimate: $2,200 - $2,500

Sold for: $2,100

Closed on 11/18/2020

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