Catalog Archive
Auction 194, Lot 379

"Gemeine Beschreibung aller Mitnachtigen Lander / alsz Schweden / Gothen / Norwegien / Dennmarck / &c.", Munster, Sebastian

Subject: Arctic & Northern Europe

Period: 1588 (circa)

Publication: Cosmographia

Color: Hand Color

14.2 x 12.3 inches
36.1 x 31.2 cm
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Sebastian Munster (1489 - 1552) was one of the three most renowned cartographers of the sixteenth century, along with Mercator and Ortelius. Munster's Geographia and Cosmographia Universalis were two of the most widely read and influential books of the period. His editions of Ptolemy's Geographia, published between 1540 and 1552, were illustrated with 48 woodcut maps, the standard 27 Ptolemaic maps supplemented by 21 new maps. These new maps included a separate map of each of the known continents and marked the development of regional cartography in Central Europe. The antique geography was a prelude to Munster's major work, the Cosmographia, which was published in nearly 30 editions in six languages between 1544 and 1578 and then was revised and reissued by Sebastian Petri from 1588 to 1628. The Cosmographia was a geographical as well as historical and ethnographic description of the world. It contained the maps from the Geographia plus additional regional maps and city views with nearly 500 illustrations which made it one of the most popular pictorial encyclopedias of the sixteen century.

This attractive woodblock map is based on Ortelius' Septentrionalum of 1570, which in turn was based on the mapping of Nicholas Zeno in 1558. Petri had this woodblock cut in 1588, reverting to coverage of Munster's earlier, simpler map of Schonlandia. The map shows two Greenlands, one just above the other with the name of Groclandt, and the coast of Estotilandt (Newfoundland) is nearby. The imaginary islands of Frisland, Icaria, Podalida, and St. Brendain are shown, along with many other small, phantom islands in the North Sea. The North Pole carries a note of Pigmei hic habitandt, indicating that pygmies live there. Title is above the map. There is also a cartouche containing, "Schweden ist reich an Bergwerck Fischen…"

References: Burden #68.

Condition: A

A crisp impression on a clean sheet with light text show-through. There is a bit of toning along the top sheet edge.

Estimate: $700 - $850

Sold for: $600

Closed on 9/13/2023