Abraham Ortelius (1527-98). “Mansfeldiae Comitatus Descriptio.” [Germany]. From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.
Antwerp: Aegidius Coppen Diesth, 1570+. 14 ¼ x 16 ¾ (neat lines). Engraving. Full original hand color. Minor spotting in margins some just into image. Small hole in map right hand side. Else, very good condition.
A fascinating map from ‘the first modern atlas,’ Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, (‘Theater of the World’). The publication of this atlas marked an epoch in the history of cartography, for it is the first uniform and systematic collection of maps of the whole world based only on contemporary knowledge since the days of Ptolemy. In the sixteenth century there was a great increase in interest in maps and charts, and Ortelius, as a businessman with a passion for history and cartography, was at the forefront in meeting this demand. Through his collecting and his antiques business, Ortelius was able to research contemporary maps, becoming the greatest expert of his day in the bibliography of maps. Ortelius based his work on the best maps available, drawing all the maps himself with the celebrated Frans Hogenberg cutting most of the plates. Unlike other atlas-makers, Ortelius cited the authors of the original maps from which he compiled his work. Thus it is not only for his unprecedented achievement in issuing the first modern atlas, but also for his thoughtful and rigorous methodology, that Ortelius belongs amongst the first rank of cartographers. He is very aptly called ‘the father of modern cartography.’
Along with their historic significance, Ortelius’ maps are noted for their delightful design and unusual Dutch coloring. They are decorative pieces in the finest Renaissance tradition, with elegant lettering, elaborate mannerist cartouches, strong engraving, and bold original hand color. First rate historically and aesthetically, this is a superb sixteenth century documents.