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Antique Maps of North America to 1700

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Ortelius regions of the New World
Abraham Ortelius. "La Florida. Auctore Hieron. Chiaves."/ "Peruviae Aurieferae Regionis Typus. Didaco Mendezio Auctore."/ "Guastecan Reg." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp, [1584]. 6 x 8 3/4; 13 x 8 3/4; 6 3/4 x 8 3/4, respectively. Overall 13 x 18. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. French text on verso.

A three-part map of the New World by Abraham Ortelius, the 'father of modern cartography.' Of particular importance is the first printed map of the American southeast, the fascinating "La Florida," as the southeast was called at the time, stretching along the Atlantic from the Carolinas to the Mexican coast. This map is based on actual information gathered during De Soto's explorations of the area in the early 1540s, and it presents the first printed image of the interior of the American southeast, showing Indian settlements, mountains and waterways discovered by De Soto. The other two maps on the sheet are of present-day Peru (the source of gold and silver for the Spanish) and eastern Mexico. Together, the three maps describe in wonderful detail and decorative form the most significant parts of the New World in the second half of the sixteenth century. They show the source of Spanish gold in three juxtaposed panels that are fit together to convey maximum cartographic information. The maps are the unmistakable work of Abraham Ortelius, considered to be one of the two greatest cartographers of the sixteenth century, and whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was the first modern atlas. This printing first appeared in the third supplement to the atlas, the 1584 Additamentum. Containing the earliest printed map of the southeast and with two other maps of regions of central importance to early American history, this is a map of highest interest to the American collector. $2,850

Jansson South East
Jan Jansson. "Virginiae partis australis, et Floridae partis orientalis." Amsterdam: J. Jansson, 1641. 15 x 19 3/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition. French text on verso. Cumming: 42.

A beautiful map that is one of the most interesting maps of the American southeast. The map is based upon the Jodocus Hondius' map of the same area-Jansson was Hondius' son-in-law-with some updating. This shows the influence of the Hondius map, and the way his map led to an extensive dissemination of both its correct information and its errors. Hondius's map was a combination of information from two sixteenth century maps, one of the Carolinas, and one of the northern Florida/Georgia region. These were combined, and in the process many errors were introduced, not the least of which was the straightening out of the St. John's River so that it flowed from an non-existent lake located to the northwest of the mouth of the river. This lake, which would become Lake Apalachy, appeared on this and other maps well into the eighteenth century. Jansson's map is updated from the Hondius version, including coats-of-arms to indicate the spheres of influence claimed by the French in the Georgia region and the British in the Carolinas. Jansson follows Hondius in the south, but he more accurately depicts the coast in the Carolinas, based on Hessel Gerritsz's map of 1631, and has a more correct image of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, indicating for the first time "Newport nesa [i.e. News]." This map shines not only in its interesting cartographic history, but also in its decorative appeal. It is a particularly fine example of the aesthetics of 17th-century Dutch cartography. The elegant calligraphy and compass roses combine with the ships in the sea and the rhumb lines in wonderful embellishment. The fully colored title and scale cartouches, the latter which shows naked putti and the former half-naked natives, add a final flourish that makes the map a delight to look at. All in all an historic map that is a very fine decorative example of the great age of Dutch cartography. $2,400

Hondius Smith Virginia
Henricus Hondius after John Smith. "Nova Virginia Tabula." Amsterdam: H. Hondius, [1633]-1653. 15 x 19 3/8. Engraving. Original hand color. Repaired separation at bottom of centerfold, otherwise very good condition. Spanish text on verso. Tooley, The Mapping of America: Derivative 5, State 1.

Henricus Hondius' derivative of the famous John Smith map of Virginia, the first printed map to focus on the Chesapeake Bay. John Smith was part of the first English settlement in North America. Smith arrived in Jamestown in the spring of 1607 and went to work surveying the Chesapeake region in order to compile a map of the "New Virginia" colony. This was first published in Smith's account of 1612, and because of its importance it was soon copied by Jodocus Hondius Jr. in 1618. A decade later, Amsterdam publisher Willem Blaeu purchased a large collection of Jodocus Hondius' plates from his widow, including this one, which he began to issue with his own imprint. Henricus Hondius, Jodocus' brother, together with Jan Jansson, were beginning to issue their own series of atlases, and with the sale of the Virginia plate to Blaeu, Henricus needed to produce his own new plate. This is a faithful copy of the original Jodocus Hondius plate, though the decorative vignettes were copied in mirror Image (the Indian on the right now looks to the left). Also the British royal coat-of-arms now appears.

As the first printed map of Virginia, the Smith rendering in all its versions had a profound impact on the mapping of the colony, standing as the prototype for the region from the beginning of the seventeenth century well into its second half. The map shows the information gathered by Smith's exploration of the Chesapeake Bay, the limits of which are indicated by a series of crosses. Also shown are the surrounding Indian settlements, as well as the settlement at Jamestown. In the upper left corner is an inset showing Powhatan's hut, and the right side is graced by a colorful coat-of-arms and an illustration of a native taken from De Bry. One interesting feature of the map is its western orientation, which shows the Chesapeake region as it would have been seen by a passenger in a ship sailing from Europe. $3,600

Jaillot America
Alexis Hubert Jaillot after Nicholas Sanson. "Amerique Septentrionale." Paris: A. H. Jaillot, 1692. 21 5/8 x 34 3/8. Engraving by Robert Cordier. Some light, original outline color. A few light spots/worn areas and some soft creasing along centerfold. Overall, very good condition and appearance. McLaughlin California As An Island, 55-1.

A striking 17th-century map that shows the development of early modern cartography. Jaillot, in re-engraving and publishing the then less widely known work of his compatriot Nicolas Sanson, brought French cartography forward to compete with the hitherto unchallenged work of the Dutch. This beautiful map of North America illustrates the beginnings of the precise and scientific mapping associated with the French. Sanson was the first to show all five Great Lakes, which reflects Sanson's concern to get as current information as was available, and his map of 1669, upon which this is based, was the best of North America of the time. Jaillot received permission to re-engrave Sanson's maps on a larger scale and this is the first edition of his effort, following Sanson closely.

Still, many geographic misconceptions were prevalent at the time, and these are well illustrated here. Most noticeable is the depiction of California as an island, but we can also find the legendary Cibola and Quivira depicted in the interior of the continent. A non-existent mountain range crosses the middle of the continent and the equally mythical Apalache Lake resides in the southeast. West of California is a large land of Jesso, and to the north Sanson gives a strong hint at the existence of a northwest passage out of Hudson's Bay, and he also shows the alleged Frobishers Strait running through the tip of Greenland. The decorative flourishes remain strong, but they are confined to the elaborate Baroque cartouches, gracing the left side of the map. With its attractive cartouches, and curious mixture of accurate and illusionary geography, this is much a map of its time. $2,800

Mortier America
Pierre Mortier. "Carte Nouvelle De L'Amerique Angloise Contenant La Virginie, Mary-Land, Caroline, Pensylvania Nouvelle Iorck, N: Iarsey N: France, et Les Terres Nouvellement Decouerte. Amsterdam: P. Mortier, 1698(?). 23 1/4 x 35 3/4. Engraving. Excellent, original hand color. Excellent condition.

A striking, large sized map of the eastern part of North America, allegedly derived by Mortier from the work of Nicolas Sanson, though there is no evidence other than the title attribution that this geographical conception was ever held by Sanson. This map is wonderful in its illustration of the various geographic misconceptions of the late seventeenth century. Interestingly, it is one of the few maps to show the Mississippi River entering the western end of the Gulf instead in the middle as it actually does. This feature appeared on maps for only about 30 years, the result of a hoax perpetrated by La Salle in an attempt to make a settlement at the mouth of the river look strategically important-in being near to the Spanish ports in Mexico-thus lending added weight to his plan of developing a French Empire along the great North American inland waterways. Also shown are 'Ashley Lake,' the 'Savana,' and the 'Desert Arenosa,' the three notorious errors derived from the reports of John Lederer.

There are myriad other interesting geographic oddities of the period which appear on the map, especially in the mid-west region. The Great Lakes are depicted essentially the same as on the map of 'the English Empire' by Robert Morden, 1695(?), and these two maps are the first to show one of the most mysterious geographic mistakes in the mapping of America, viz. the prominently illustrated mountain range running through the Michigan peninsula and down all the way into Florida. While the connection of the Michigan chain with Florida was soon severed, the mountains in the peninsula appeared on maps even into the nineteenth century. The origin of this chain is still a puzzle that continues to baffle cartographic scholars. All in all, a fascinating document showing the state of 'knowledge' of North America at the end of the seventeenth century. $4,800


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