Catalog Archive
Auction 187, Lot 7

Visscher's Rare Carte-a-Figures World Map

"Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula Auctore N. I. Piscator", Visscher, Claes Janszoon

Subject: World

Period: 1652 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

22.3 x 17.9 inches
56.6 x 45.5 cm
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This stunning carte-a-figures world map on Mercator's projection is one of the most richly decorated maps from the Dutch period of preeminence in cartography. While the cartography is similar to Blaeu, Visscher's map has been updated to show the discoveries around Hudson Bay and shows the St. Lawrence River extending to a small lake in the middle of North America. Tierra del Fuego is shown as a distinct landmass, no longer a part of the mythical southern continent. Two polar insets fill the bottom corners and a cartouche in the interior of North America tells of the discovery of America by Columbus. Although early editions of this map erroneously date Columbus' voyage to 1592/1599, this edition has corrected dates of 1492/1499. The magnificent panels surrounding the map include twelve Roman emperors on richly caparisoned horses at the top and bottom, with six groups of national figures and six vignettes of principal cities at the sides. The corners are filled with female allegorical representations of the continents; Europa in a pastoral setting, Asia seated on a camel, America as a warrior queen riding an armadillo, and Africa reclining on a crocodile. The map originated in 1639, this being the 1652 issue with Visscher's imprint and date near the inset of the South Pole. Rated by Shirley as rare.

References: Shirley #350.

Condition: B+

Light toning and spots with a few small abrasions in the Pacific. Some cracks and tears adjacent to centerfold and in bottom right corner have all been expertly repaired. Backed in Japanese tissue. Despite these imperfections, this example presents itself very well.

Estimate: $14,000 - $16,000

Sold for: $10,000

Closed on 4/27/2022