Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 738

"Africa ex Magna Orbis Terre Descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris Desumpta, Studio & Industria ", Mercator, Gerard (the younger)

Subject: Africa

Period: 1609 (published)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris L'Atlas ou Meditations Cosmographiques...

Color: Hand Color

18.6 x 14.9 inches
47.2 x 37.8 cm
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Compiled from Gerard Mercator's world map of 1569, this rendition was drawn by Mercator's grandson (also named Gerard) in 1595, and published later by Hondius. The map is typical of 16th century cartography with considerable fantastic detail in the interior. The depiction of the Nile is based on Ptolemy's geography with some complex modifications from various sources, including Abyssinian monks. The source of the Nile is shown as a series of lakes located in the Lune montes just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Another branch of the Nile flows from the west, with this system rambling through what is the Sahara Desert. Mercator adds a lake named Sac. Haf lac, from the 1507 Waldseemuller world map. This lake feeds both the Zambere River and the Nile. In Abissini, the legendary Christian King Prester John sits on his throne. The boldly engraved oceans, beautiful calligraphy, and strapwork cartouche (surmounted by two satyrs) make this a decorative masterpiece. French text on verso.

References: Betz #31; Norwich #21; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #8600:1A.

Condition: A

A nice impression with a professionally repaired edge tear at bottom that enters 1.5" into map image, a short centerfold separation in the bottom margin, and small remnants of hinge tape on verso.

Estimate: $1,100 - $1,400

Sold for: $800

Closed on 11/15/2023