1639 Mercator Hondius Antique Map of Sri Lanka, India - Ceylon

Cartographer : Henricus Hondius

  • TitleIns. Ceilan quae incolis Tenarifin dicture
  • Date : 1639
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Ref:  43138
  • Size: 22 3/4in x 19 3/4in (580mm x 500mm)

This beautifully engraved hand coloured original antique map of the Island of Ceylon - Sri Lanka was published in the 1639 French edition of Mercator's atlas by Jansson and Hondius.
These maps, published in the later editions of Mercators atlas, are derived from the original maps drawn and engraved by Gerald Mercator in the mid to late 16th century, published by his son Rumold as an atlas, after his death, in 1595. After two editions the plates were purchased by Jodocus Hondius in 1604 andcontinued to be published until the mid 1630's when the plates were re-engraved and updated by Jan Jansson and Henricus Hondius.

Background: Maps of India & Ceylon, much distorted in shape, appear in most world atlases from the time of Ptolemy. The earliest usually showing India as a relatively small extension of Southern Asia, dominated by the very large island of Taprobana (Ceylon). In later sixteenth-century maps de Jode, Ortelius and Mercator gave a much improved outline of both lands but India was still shown too small in relation to the whole continent. Most publishers in the seventeenth century continued to issue maps but with little improvement in detail until about 1719 when a French Jesuit priest, Father Jean Bouchet, compiled an accurate map of South India, subsequently used by G. Delisle (1723), Homann Heirs (1735) and by J. B. B. d'Anville, then the French East India Company's cartographer, as the basis for his greatly improved maps in 1737 and 1752.
In the next decade Alexander Dalrymple published a collection of newly surveyed coastal charts and plans of ports and, about the same time, in 1764, James Rennell, a young British Army officer who showed a remarkable aptitude for surveying, was appointed - at the age of 21- Surveyor General of Bengal; he immediately set in motion a comprehensive survey of the Company's lands, subsequently publishing maps of Bengal and other provinces which eventually formed The &ngal Atlas (1779). His other works included a Map of Hindoustan (1782-85) and The Provinces of Delhi, Agra etc and the Indian Peninsula (1788-94). These maps by Reunell provided the basis for a Trigonometrical Survey of India which was initiated in 1802 and for splendid maps published in London by Cary, the Arrowsmiths (1804-22) and the Wylds.

Jodocus Hondius (1563 - 1612), one of the most notable engravers of his time, is known for his work in association with many of the cartographers and publishers prominent at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century. 
In 1604 Hondius bought the plates of Mercator's Atlas which, in spite of its excellence, had not competed successfully with the continuing demand of the Ortelius Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. 
To meet this competition Hondius added about 40 maps to Mercator's original number and from 1606 published enlarged editions in many languages, still under Mercator's name but with his own name as publisher. These atlases have become known as the Mercator/Hondius series. The following year the maps were re-engraved in miniature form and issued as a pocket Atlas Minor. 
After the death of Jodocus Hondius the Elder in 1612, work on the two atlases, folio and miniature, was carried on by his widow and sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, and eventually in conjunction with Jan Jansson in Amsterdam. In all, from 1606 onwards, nearly 50 editions with increasing numbers of maps with texts in the main European languages were printed.(Ref: Koeman; M&B; Tooley)

Condition Report:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy & stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Yellow, pink, green
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 22 3/4in x 19 3/4in (580mm x 500mm)
Plate size: - 20in x 13 3/4in (500mm x 350mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - Light age toning
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None