1579 Abraham Ortelius Antique Map of Holland - Hollandia Antiquorum Catthorum

Cartographer : Abraham Ortelius

  • 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

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)

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