Africa Ex Magna orbis terra descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris desumpta. Studio & industria GM Iunioris.
21in x 16 1/4in (535mm x 415mm). This beautifully hand coloured original, true rare 1st edition antique map, of Africa by Gerard Mercator was published in the 1595 Latin edition of Mercators Atlas, Atlas Sive Cosmographicae Meditationes Illustrissimi Ducis. True 1st edition identified by the verso of the map, according to Koemans Atlantes Neerlandica, identifying the letter "C" under the title "Africa". As indicated in the title Cartouche, this map this is a reduction by Gerard Mercator Junior of Africa, compiled from Gerard Mercators world map of 1569. This rendition was drawn by Mercators grandson (also named Gerard) in 1595.The map is typical of 16th century cartography of Africa containing some fantastical detail especially in regards to the interior. The depiction of the Nile is based on Ptolemys geography with some complex modifications from various sources, including Abyssinian monks. The source of the Nile is shown as a series of lakes located in the Lune Montes just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Another branch of the Nile flows from the west, with this system rambling through what is the Sahara Desert. Mercator adds a lake named Sac. Haf lac, from the 1507 Waldseemuller world map. This lake feeds both the Zambere River and the Nile. In Abissini, the legendary Christian King Prester John sits on his throne. The boldly engraved oceans, beautiful calligraphy, and strapwork cartouche (surmounted by two satyrs) make this a decorative masterpiece. Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable Paper color : - off white Age of map color: - Original Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink General color appearance: - Authentic Paper size: - 21in x 16 1/4in (535mm x 415mm) Plate size: - 18 1/2in x 15in (470mm x 380mm) Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm). Margins: - Age toning, small rejoin in bottom right margin Plate area: - None. Verso: - Age toning, left & top margin re-enforced. Margins: - Age toning, small rejoin in bottom right margin. Being part of the Mediterranean world, the northern coasts of the African continent as far as the Straits of Gibraltar and even round to the area of the Fortunate Isles (the Canaries) were reasonably well known and quite accurately mapped from ancient times. In particular, Egypt and the Nile Valley were well defined and the Nile itself was, of course, one of the rivers separating the continents in medieval T-O maps. Through Arab traders the shape of the east coast, down the Red Sea as far as the equator, was also known but detail shown in the interior faded into deserts with occasional mountain ranges and mythical rivers. The southern part of the continent, in the Ptolemaic tradition, was assumed to curve to the east to form a land-locked Indian Ocean.
The voyages of the Portuguese, organized by Henry the Navigator in the fifteenth century, completely changed the picture and by the end of the century Vasco da Gama had rounded the Cape enabling cartographers to draw a quite presentable coastal outline of the whole continent, even if the interior was to remain largely unknown for the next two or three centuries. The first separately printed map of Africa (as with the other known continents) appeared in Munster\'s Geographia from 1540 onwards and the first atlas devoted to Africa only was published in 1588 in Venice by Livio Sanuto, but the finest individual map of the century was that engraved on 8 sheets by Gastaldi, published in Venice in 1564.
Apart from maps in sixteenth-century atlases generally there were also magnificent marine maps of 1596 by Jan van Linschoten (engraved by van Langrens) of the southern half of the continent with highly imaginative and decorative detail in the interior. In the next century there were many attractive maps including those of Mercator/Hondius (1606), Speed (1627), Blaeu (1 630), Visscher (1636), de Wit c. 1670, all embellished with vignettes of harbours and principal towns and bordered with elaborate and colourful figures of their inhabitants, but the interior remained uncharted with the exception of that part of the continent known as Ethiopia, the name which was applied to a wide area including present-day Abyssinia. Here the legends of Prester John lingered on and, as so often happened in other remote parts of the world, the only certain knowledge of the region was provided by Jesuit missionaries.Despite the formidable problems which faced them, the French cartographers G. D\'Anville (1727-49) and N. Bellin (1754) greatly improved the standards of mapping of the continent, improvements which were usually, although not always, maintained by Homann, Seutter, de Ia Rochette, Bowen, Faden and many others in the later years of the century. Gerard Mercator (1512 - 1594). For nearly sixty years, during the most important and exciting period in the story of modern map making, Gerard Mercator was the supreme cartographer, his name, second only to Ptolemy, synonymous with the form of map projection still in use today. Although not the inventor of this type of projection he was the first to apply it to navigational charts in such a form that compass bearings could be plotted on charts in straight lines, thereby providing seamen with a solution to an age-old problem of navigation at sea. His influence transformed land surveying and his researches and calculations led him to break away from Ptolemy's conception of the size and outline of the Continents, drastically reducing the longitudinal length of Europe and Asia and altering the shape of the Old World as visualized in the early sixteenth century. Mercator was born in Rupelmonde in Flanders and studied in Louvain under Gemma Frisius, Dutch writer, astronomer and mathematician. He established himself there as a cartographer and instrument and globe maker, and when he was twenty-five drew and engraved his first map (of Palestine) and went on to produce a map of Flanders (1540) supervising the surveying and completing the drafting and engraving himself. The excellence of his work brought him the patronage of Charles V for whom he constructed a globe, but in spite of his favour with the Emperor he was caught up in the persecution of Lutheran Protestants and charged with heresy, fortunately without serious consequences. No doubt the fear of further persecution influenced his move in 1552 to Duisburg, where he continued the production of maps, globes and instruments culminating in large-scale maps of Europe (1554), the British Isles (1564) and the famous World Map on 18 sheets drawn to his new projection (1569). All these early maps are exceedingly rare, some being known by only one copy. In later life he devoted himself to his edition of the maps in Ptolemy's Geographia, reproduced in his own engraving as nearly as possible in their original form, and to the preparation of his 3-volume collection of maps to which, for the first time, the word'Atlas' was applied. The word was chosen, he wrote,'to honor the Titan, Atlas, King of Mauritania, a learned philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer'. The first two parts of the Atlas were published in 1585 and 1589 and the third, with the first two making a complete edition, in 1595 the year after Mercator's death. Mercator's sons and grandsons named above, were all cartographers and made their contributions in various ways to the great atlas.
Rumold, in particular, was responsible for the complete edition in 1595. After a second complete edition in 1602, the map plates were bought in 1604 by Jodocus Hondius who, with his sons, Jodocus II and Henricus, published enlarged editions which dominated the map market for the following twenty to thirty years.
What is an Antique Map. The word Antique in the traditional sense refers to an item that is more than a hundred years old.
The majority of antique maps for sale today come from books or atlases and have survived due to the protection offered by the hardback covers. The first thing to determine when staring a collection or purchasing an item, is what is important to you.Most collectors prefer to build their collections around a theme. You may decide to collect maps from one region or country, charting its development through time.
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Pricing is based on a number of different factors, the most important of which is regional. In any series of maps the most valuable are usually the World Map and the America/North America. The World because it is usually the most decorative and America because it has the strongest regional market. Other factors that come into play re: price is rarity, age, size, historical importance, decorative value (colour) and overall condition and quality of paper it is printed on. As specialised dealers, we frequently work with first time map buyers who are just starting their collection.Classical Images was founded 1998 and has built an excellent reputation for supplying high quality original antiquarian maps, historical atlases, antique books and prints. We carry an extensive inventory of antiquarian collectibles from the 15th to 19th century. Our collection typically includes rare books and decorative antique maps and prints by renowned cartographers, authors and engravers.
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