Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 373

A Nearly Unattainable Ortelius Map With only a Handful of Surviving Copies

"Gallia", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: France

Period: 1588 (circa)


Color: Black & White

19.8 x 13.7 inches
50.3 x 34.8 cm
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This was Ortelius' second map of France, which was ostensibly created to replace Galliae Regni Potentiss. Nova Descriptio, however was never widely printed and is now known in only a few surviving examples. Several examples of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum have been found to contain the map, including a 1588 Spanish edition that was discovered at a German auction in 2005, a 1598 Dutch edition at the Plantin Museum, and a 1613 Dutch edition in the University Library of Amsterdam. This map was likely also sold as a single-sheet map for a limited period of time. Cartographically, the map is a close copy of Guillaume Postel's larger woodblock map of France, which was published in Paris in 1570. Postel is credited as the author at bottom right, just above Ortelius' imprint. The map is filled with towns, rivers, and provincial boundary lines and features exquisite decorative elements, including sailing ships and strapwork cartouches. The title cartouche, which is surmounted by a pair of putti holding birds, is nearly identical to the cartouche on Gerard Mercator's Zelandia Comitatus, first published in 1585, with the exception of the birds, which appear only on Ortelius' version. Blank verso. A very special map that would be a treasured addition to any Ortelius collection.

Provenance: From the private collection of the late Marcel van den Broecke, the foremost expert on Abraham Ortelius.

References: Van den Broecke #35; Van der Krogt (Vol. III) #4000:31B.

Condition: B+

A sharp impression on a bright sheet with minor soiling. This example has three vertical folds that have been professionally flattened with repairs to a number of separations along the folds.

Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000


Closed on 6/9/2021