Rare First Plate of Ortelius' Influential Map of the New World
"Americae sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio", Ortelius, Abraham
Subject: Western Hemisphere - America
Period: 1572 (published)
Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Color: Hand Color
20 x 14.4 inches
50.8 x 36.6 cm
This is one of the most famous maps of America, and one that had enormous influence on the future cartography of the New World. Frans Hogenberg engraved this map, and it is primarily based on Gerard Mercator's great multi-sheet world map of 1569. The most recognizable features of the map are the bulbous Chilean coastline and the exaggerated breadth of the North American continent. North America shows a lengthy St. Lawrence River reaching across the continent to nearly meet the fictitious, westward flowing Tiguas Rio. The strategically placed title cartouche hides the unknown South Pacific and therefore most of the conjectural great southern continent, which is shown attached to both New Guinea and Tierra del Fuego.
This is from the uncommon first plate (second state), published in the first French edition of 1572. This plate had a relatively short life and was published only between 1570 and 1575.
See also lot 830 for Philip Burden's excellent reference work, The Mapping of North America, that discusses this map.
References: Burden #39.2; Goss (NA) #11; Van den Broecke #9.2.
A sharp impression with gilt highlights on a bright sheet with a bunch of grapes watermark. There are some tiny spots of foxing along the centerfold, minor soiling, and professional repairs to a centerfold separation at bottom and an adjacent tear in the South Pacific.