Catalog Archive
Auction 192, Lot 384

Early Example of Ortelius' Map of the Arctic with Mythical Islands

"Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Arctic & Scandinavia

Period: 1571 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19.4 x 14.2 inches
49.3 x 36.1 cm
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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 after the title and Latin text on verso.

References: Burden #40; Ginsberg #24; Van den Broecke #160.

Condition: A

A sharp impression on a bright, watermarked sheet with very faint foxing. There are professional repairs to a few small worm holes in the image and to a short centerfold separation at bottom.

Estimate: $2,300 - $2,750

Sold for: $2,300

Closed on 4/26/2023