London, South Kensington
3 May 2007
[ORTELIUS, Abraham (1527-98)]. Septentionalium regionum descrip. [Antwerp: 1570 or later]. Engraved map, galleons and sea monsters, with crude but early hand-colouring, title cartouche with sea-creature, a monkey, a butterfly and a phoenix, Latin text on verso, 356 x 485mm. Framed and glazed. Burden 40; Van den Broecke 160.
A highly decorative map of the North Atlantic full of fascinating detail. It includes Scandinavia and northern Europe, the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland and part of North America ("Estolitant"). Interestingly, the map also contains a number of mythical islands, most notably "Frisland" in the Atlantic and "Grocland" north of Greenland, and the imaginary Polar continent is depicted with a note telling us that it is inhabited by pygmys ("Pigmei hic habitant"). The geography is based on an earlier map of Scandinavia by Olaus Magnus in 1539 and the Zeno map of 1558.
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