21 June 2013
ORTELIUS, Abraham (1527-1598). Theatrum orbis terrarum. Antwerp: Officina Plantiniana, 1612.
2o (428 x 293 mm), Latin text, engraved title with arms of Philip of Spain on verso, engraved epitaph to Ortelius and portrait, 128 engraved double-page maps, most by Frans Hogenberg, ALL COLORED IN A CONTEMPORARY HAND. (Some browning, finger soiling to lower right corner, a few maps with repaired marginal tears, corner of map 69 repaired, a few maps trimmed closely, light worming to gutter margin at beginning.) Modern calf antique. Provenance: anonymous armorial bookplate ("Sola virtus vera nobilitas").
The last of the Latin editions of the Theatrum orbis terratum (without "Parergon" and "Nomenclator Ptolemaicus"). It contains elaborate preliminary matter and an introduction to cosmography by Michel Coignet. "This edition was printed and published by the successor of Plantin in the famous printing house" (Koeman). All maps and views in this edition were already incorporated in the Italian edition published by Vrients in 1608. "The publication of [the first edition] of this atlas marked an epoch in the history of cartography. It was the first uniformly sized, systematic collection of maps of the countries of the world based only on contemporary knowledge and in that sense may be called the first modern atlas" (Tooley). The atlas was first published in 1570 (with 53 maps) and more than 40 editions were published until 1612. Koeman III, Ort 41; see PMM 91 (1570 edition); Sabin 57693; Tooley Maps and Map-Makers p.29.
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The coloring, albeit old, cannot with certainty be called contemporary with the book.
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