Abraham Ortelius 1528-98


Profile :

Abraham Ortel, better known as Ortelius, was born in Antwerp and after studying Greek, Latin and mathematics set up business there with his sister, as a book dealer and 'painter of maps'. Traveling widely, especially to the great book fairs, his business prospered and he established contacts with the literati in many lands. On one such visit to England, possibly seeking temporary refuge from religious persecution, he met William Camden whom he is said to have encouraged in the production of the Britannia.

A turning-point in his career was reached in 1564 with the publication of a World Map in eight sheets of which only one copy is known: other individual maps followed and then - at the suggestion of a friend - he gathered together a collection of maps from contacts among European cartographers and had them engraved in uniform size and issued in 1570 as the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Atlas of the Whole World). Although Lafreri and others in Italy had published collections of 'modern' maps in book form in earlier years, the Theatrum was the first uniformly sized, systematic collection of maps and hence can be called the first atlas, although that term itself was not used until twenty years later by Mercator.

The Theatrum, with most of its maps elegantly engraved by Frans Hogenberg, was an instant success and appeared in numerous editions in different languages including addenda issued from time to time incorporating the latest contemporary knowledge and discoveries. The final edition appeared in 1612. Unlike many of his contemporaries Ortelius noted his sources of information and in the first edition acknowledgement was made to eighty-seven different cartographers.

Apart from the modern maps in his major atlas, Ortelius himself compiled a series of historical maps known as the Parergon Theatri which appeared from 1579 onwards, sometimes as a separate publication and sometimes incorporated in the Theatrum.

1570 – 1612
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Between these years the Theatrum was re-issued in 42 editions with 5 supplements with text in Latin, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian and English. The English edition was published in 1606 by John Norton, the maps being printed in Antwerp and the text added in London. Three years after Ortelius died in 1598, his heirs transferred publication rights to Jan Baptiste Vrients who produced the later editions until he died in 1612

1577-85
Spiegel der Werelt (8vo) Maps from the Theatrum, reduced in size, engraved by Philip Galle: text by Pieter Heyns. 6 editions with Dutch, French and Latin text. 1588-i 603 Epitome theatri orbis terrarum (12mo/8v0) 11 further editions of the smaller maps with an increasing number of maps with text also in Italian and English (1603). i6oi-i 2 7 further editions with improved engravings by Arsenius Brothers: text by Michel Coignet in Latin, French, German, Italian and English (1603).

1598-1724
Theatro del Mondo (4t0/12mo/24mo) 8 editions with Italian text; plates engraved in Italy. 1579-1606 Parergon Theatri The number of maps included in the Parergon increased from 4 in 1579 to 43 in 1606 with text in Latin, French, Italian, German and English (1606) 1624 Re-issued in Antwerp as a separate publication by Balthasar Moretus. This edition included a reproduction of the Peutinger table

Abraham Ortelius (3)

Sort by:
1579 Abraham Ortelius Antique Map of Holland - Hollandia

1579 Abraham Ortelius Antique Map of Holland - Hollandia

  • Title : Hollandia Antiquorum Catthorum Sedis Nova Descriptio, Avctore Iacobo A Daventria
  • Ref #:  50664
  • Size: 21 1/2in x 17in (550mm x 430mm)
  • Date : 1579
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition

Description: 
This beautifully hand coloured original antique map of Holland, 1st edition - based on the cartographic works of Jacob van Deventer - was published by Abraham Ortelius in the 1579 Latin edition of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

Ortelius published a total of 7300 of this map between 1570 to 1641 from 3 States:
1570-1584 state 1
1587-1595 State 2
1598-1641 State3.
According to Marcel Van dem Broecke there are estimated to be only 140 loose copies in circulation.

Background: It would be hard to imagine a more inauspicious period for a nation's cultural development than the years between 1520 and 1600 in the Low Countries. Under the harsh domination of the Spanish Emperors, facing fanatical religious persecution and the threat of the Inquisition, the constant presence of foreign troops and even the destruction of some of their cities, the Dutch, nevertheless, in 1581 contrived to break their subservience to Spain and form their own federation. Belgium, being mainly Catholic, remained within the orbit of the Empire though henceforward was recognized as a separate state. In such circumstances there would seem to have been little chance for growth of a national entity in the small Northern Provinces but, on the contrary, under the leadership of Amsterdam, their banking and commercial enterprise soon dominated Europe. The attempt by Philip II to eliminate their control of European coastal trade by the use of Portuguese craft inspired the Dutch, first, to seek a North East passage to India and Asia and then, failing that, to challenge Spanish and Portuguese power directly, not only in European waters but also in the East, and eventually to eclipse it. English attempts to gain a foothold in the Indies were bitterly opposed and the English turned their attention to India where only a handful of Dutch settlements existed.

In spite of the turmoil arising out of these events, first Antwerp and then Amsterdam became centres of the arts and their cartographers, engravers and printers produced magnificent maps and charts of every kind which many claim have never been surpassed. Later in this chapter an account is given of Gerard Mercator, who studied at Louvain under Gemma Frisius, the Dutch astronomer and mathematician, and later moved to Duisburg in the Rhineland where most of his major work was carried Out. There he produced globes, maps of Europe, the British Isles and the famous World Map using his newly invented method of projection, all of which were widely copied by most of the cartographers of the day. The first part of his Atlas - the word chosen by Mercator to describe a collection of maps - was published in 1585, the second in 1589, and the third in 1595, a year after his death.

Other great names of the time were Abraham Ortelius, native of Antwerp, famous for his world atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, issued in 1570; Waghenaer, noted for his sea atlases of 1584 and 1592, Gerard de Jode and Jodocus and Henricus Hondius, followed in the next century by W. J. Blaeu and his sons and Jan Jansson. The Blaeu and Jansson establishments were noted mainly for land atlases but their sea atlases and pilot books were also published in numerous editions which went some way to meeting the rising demand for aids to navigation in European and Mediterranean waters. Their productions were challenged by other, smaller publishers specializing in such works, Jacob Colom, Anthonie Jacobsz, Pieter Goos, Hendrick Doncker, to mention a few, and, later, the charts issued by the van Keulen family and their descendants covered practically all the seas of the known world. As we reach the second half of the seventeenth century the details of publication of these sea atlases and pilot books become more and more interwoven and complicated. Not infrequently the same charts were issued under the imprint of different publishers; at death the engraved plates were sold or passed to their successors and were re-issued, with minor alterations and often without acknowledgement to the originator, all of which adds to problems of identification. Although, in this period, charts of every kind must have been issued in great quantity, good copies are now hard to find.

By about the year 1700 Dutch sea power and influence was waning and although their pilot books and charts remained much in demand for many years to come, leadership in the production of land atlases passed into the hands of the more scientific French cartographers who, in their turn, dominated the map trade for most of the following century.

Atlas Background: For the first time, in 1570, all the elements of the modern Atlas were brought to publication  in Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. This substantial undertaking assembled fifty-three of the best available maps of the world by the most renowned and up to date geographers.
Unlike earlier compositions, such as the Italian composite or "Lafreri" Atlases, each of Ortelius' maps was engraved specifically for his Atlas according to uniform format. Through its launching, pre-eminence in map publishing was transferred from Italy to the Netherlands, leading to over a hundred years of Dutch supremacy in all facts of cartographical production.
There were a total of 7300 copies of Theatrum  published between 1570 - 1612 from 31 editions. (Ref: Van Den Broecke; Tooley)

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Light and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Early color
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 21 1/2in x 17in (550mm x 430mm)
Plate size: - 19 1/2in x 14in (495mm x 355mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Light browning in top and bottom margins
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

$1,499.00 USD
More Info
1588 Ortelius Antique Rare (State 2:3) World Map

1588 Ortelius Antique Rare (State 2:3) World Map

This is a unique opportunity to purchase the rarest of all Abraham Ortelius world map's - Typus Orbis Terrarum - Ort 2, state 3 or Ort 2:3.
To put the scarcity of this map into context please consider. Ortelius published a total of 6950 world maps over three editions of his atlases. According to the foremost authority on Ortelius works, Marcel Van Den Broecke, only 411 total world maps are known to have survived. Of these 411 only 14 are the Ort 2 edition and of these 14 only 4 are Ort 2:3 state. Making this one of the rarest maps available on the market today. Blank verso.

Description:
Ortelius published 3 World maps over the life of his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, between 1570 & 1612. These maps are referred to as Ort 1, Ort 2 & Ort 3. Within these three map editions necessary changes, repairs & updates were made to the plates, referred to as states. Ort 1 required 5 changes or states. Ort 2 required 3 changes and Ort 3 changed twice. This map published in 1588 and the last state of Ort 2 is identified by the changes to the western South American coastline, whilst still retaining the decorative cloud surround as in Ort1. Ort 3 was changed by removing the cloud surrounds replacing them with medallions and strap-work This is a beautiful map with original hand colouring, on sturdy clean paper with original margins. Prior to my acquiring the map from Marcel P R van den Broecke - author of "Ortelius Atlas Maps" - the map underwent some small professional restoration. Backed and pressed onto archival Japanese paper, these restorations, a 2cm sq one to the image and an 11cm x 1cm one to the bottom margin, have been carried out professionally and do not detract in anyway from the map. A more comprehensive description is available below as is a Certificate of Authenticity from Marcel van den Broecke, that accompanies the map.

Map history & background.
Below is a list of the different editions and states of Typus Orbis Terrarum.

- 1st edition (Ort 1) – States 1.1 through to 1.5.
A total of 3250 maps from this plate were published between 1570 & 1584. Today it is estimated that there are 236 loose copies in circulation of all 5 states.

- 2nd edition (Ort 2) - States 2.1 through to 2.3.
A total of 500 maps from this plate were published between 1586 & 1588. Today it is estimated that there are 14 loose copies in circulation of all 3 states.

- 3rd edition (Ort 3) – States 3.1 through to 3.2.
A total of 3200 maps from this plate were published between 1589 & 1612. Today it is estimated that there are 161 loose copies in circulation of both states.

Ortelius' world map is a simplified one-sheet reduction of Mercator's large world map which had appeared the year before. Nearly all the legends, textual panels and decorative features of Mercator's map have been omitted; between the oval circumference of the map and the outer frame are now clouds and below, a quotation from Cicero. From surviving correspondence, it is known that Mercator generously encouraged Ortelius to make use of his published research; he also provided him with coordinates of places in America and other newly discovered regions of the world. In the first edition South America retains the unusual bulged south-west coast as drawn by Mercator. There is also a prudent comment adjacent to New Guinea querying whether this large island is part of the southern continent or not.

The original plate, like a number of others in the Atlas, were signed by the engraver Franciscus (Frans) Hogenberg and was used for the first sixteen editions of the Theatrum.
In nearly all places there is text on the reverse of the map in the language indicated but a few copies are known which lack reverse text. Between 1575 and 1579 the plate became cracked along the lower left hand corner. The crack was roughly mended and the whole border of the clouds substantially reworked; editions from 1579 to 1584 contain this revised state 2 of plate 1. Ortelius subsequently produced two further world maps, each slightly improved geographically.
Several of these states co-existed; for instance although plate 3 carries the date 1587, it does not seem to have been issued until 1592. Only one example has been sighted of the first state plate 2 of 1586. State 3 of plate 2 is also uncommon but it re-appears in the British Library's copy of the Dutch 1598 edition of the Theatrum which, as noted by Koeman, was often made up of earlier stock sheets.
Ortelius' map was copied widely, and derivatives were later used to illustrate works by Voisin, Broughton, Maffei, Bell-Forest, Petri, Hakluyt and others.
Cartographical sources were Gerard Mercator 1569 & Gastaldi 1561 world maps and Diego Gutierrez' portolan map of the Atlantic.

Next to the list at the bottom of the text, Ortelius mentions in his Catalogues Auctorum the world maps by Peter ab Aggere from Mechelen, Sebastian Cabotus from Venice, Laurentius Fries from Antwerp, Jacobus Gastaldi, Gemma Frisius from Antwerp, Guicciardinus from Antwerp, Doco ab Hemminga Frisius, and Orontius Finæus from Paris.

Background of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
For the first time, in 1570, all the elements of the modern Atlas were brought to publication in Abraham Ortelius' Atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. This substantial undertaking assembled fifty-three of the best available maps of the world by the most renowned and up to date geographers.
Unlike earlier compositions, such as the Italian composite or "Lafreri" Atlases, each of Ortelius' maps was engraved specifically for his Atlas according to uniform format. Through its launching, pre-eminence in map publishing was transferred from Italy to the Netherlands, leading to over a hundred years of Dutch supremacy in all facts of cartographical production.
There were a total of 7300 copies of Theatrum published between 1570 - 1612 from 31 editions.

Historical sales data
A total of 114 sales of this map across all editions from 1983 to 2011.
From the 1st edition there are 40 known sales, from the 2nd edition there are 3 known sales leaving 48 sales from the third edition. The following is a further breakdown of sales data per edition.

Edition # 1 – 49 sales from 1983 to 2011 with a top price of $18,172 for an 1570 edition (Ort1:4) in 2005.
Edition # 2 - 4 sales between 1985 & 2007 with a top price of $18,000 for a 1586 Ort 2:3 in 2007
Edition # 3 - 60 sales from 1985 to 2011 with a top price of $17,759 paid for a 1606 Ort 3 in 2000.
(Please note the condition of these maps is largely unknown, condition is a major contributing factor to value). (Ref: Van Den Broecke; Tooley; Shirley; Rosenthal)

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 20in x 14 ½in (510mm x 370mm)
Plate size: - 19 ½in x 13 1/4in (495mm x 340mm)
Margins: - Min ½in (10mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Professional 11cm restoration to bottom margin, 1cm into image. Light soiling
Plate area: - Small 2cm sq professional restoration below the ST of Australis
Verso: - Map backed on fine archival Japanese paper

$17,500.00 USD
More Info
1595 Ortelius Antique Epitome Atlas with 106 Maps

1595 Ortelius Antique Epitome Atlas with 106 Maps

  • Title : Epitome theatri Orteliani….Philippo Gallaeo excudebat Arnoldus Cocinx M D X C V.
  • Ref #: Ept
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Size: 6 1/2in x 5in (165mm x 135mm)
  • Date : 1595

Description: 
This stunning, original antique Epitome Atlas - Theatrum Orbis Terrarum - by Abraham Ortelius was published in 1595 by Philip Galle. It is the only edition of Epitome not printed  by Christopher Platin but by Arnoldus Coninx, making it extremely rare. 

The atlas has been lovingly and professionally restored with fine vellum binding with some small later restoration on the title page and two other pages, none affecting the images.
The Atlas has new end papers, and contains the original title page, frontispiece, 6 text pages 109 maps with alter colour and  descriptive text and finally three index pages shown at the bottom of the image.
A unique opportunity to acquire one of the best, if not the best epitome atlas of this period.

Background: The first pocket version of Abraham Ortelius folio Atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was published by Philip Galle with text by Pieter Heyns. Between 1577 & 1598 Galle issued 11 editions of which all but this 1595 edition were printed by Christopher Plantin. 
The Dutch editions were published by Heyn's son Zacharias in 1596, which was a re-issue of of the 1583 edition. In addition to the Dutch, French, Latin, Italian & English editions were also published. The pages for the English edition, the last from Galles map plates, were printed in Antwerp and shipped to London for publication by John Norton in 1602.
The first two editions of Epitome contained sixty-six miniatures and six small folding maps including one of the world dated 1574. They were all rather crudely drawn and engraved by Galle, with narrow decorated borders. From 1583 he gradually introduced a new set of maps, adding quality and quantity  replacing the originals until they had grown to 123 by 1598. (Ref: King; Van Den Broecke; Tooley) 

Condition Report
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Later coloring
Colors used: - Yellow, green, red, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic and fresh
Atlas size: - 6 1/2in x 5in (165mm x 135mm)
Page size: - 5 3/4in x 4in (145mm x 100mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: None
Plate area: - Very light ink notations on title and Psalm pages, light age toning on a few pages
Verso: - None

$19,500.00 USD
More Info