Catalog Archive
Auction 184, Lot 5

Mercator's Double-Hemisphere World Map in Full Contemporary Color

"Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio quam ex Magna Universali Gerardi Mercatoris", Mercator, Rumold

Subject: World

Period: 1587 (dated)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris - Atlas sive Cosmographicae

Color: Hand Color

Size:
20.8 x 11.4 inches
52.8 x 29 cm
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An elaborate strapwork border surrounds this beautiful double-hemisphere map, and an armillary sphere and 32-point compass rose are tucked between the hemispheres. Rumold Mercator based this map on his father's great world map of 1569. The North Pole is depicted as a landmass surrounding a sea from which four rivers radiate and there is a well depicted Northwest Passage. The huge Terra Australis is shown as a part of Tierra del Fuego, and the lands of Lucach, Maletur and Beach (from the travel account of Marco Polo) are noted along the coast in the vicinity of present day Australia with a large island labeled Iava Minor located in the same region. Japan is shown in a kite-shaped configuration, with the fictitious Satyrorum insule (Satyr's Island) shown above. South America has a bulge on its southwest coast, and New Guinea is depicted in a large, circular configuration. The map embodies many ancient authorities and is a wonderful view of classical cartography. French text on verso, published in 1619. Cracks in the copper plate are visible in the title.

See also lot 830 for Rodney Shirley's excellent reference work, The Mapping of the World, which discusses this map.

References: Shirley #157; Portinaro & Knirsch XLVIII; Suarez (Veil) #31, plt. XI; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #01:1A.

Condition: B+

Full contemporary color with some offsetting, light foxing, and show-through of text on verso. The centerfold has been professionally reinforced on verso, and the sheet is chipped at bottom left, well away from the image.

Estimate: $4,500 - $5,500

Sold for: $4,000

Closed on 9/15/2021

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