By: Abraham Ortelius
Date: 1585 (dated) Antwerp
Dimensions: 13.25 x 19.5 inches (33.6 cm x 50 cm)
This spectacular Ortelius map of Iceland is a classic in the history of mapmaking, not only for its decorative appeal, but for being the first relatively accurate map of Iceland taken from indigenous sources.
Here we see Iceland depicted in minute detail with all geophysical features which were known to be extant at the time noted. Ortelius depicts mountains and volcanoes, with Mount Hekla actually erupting, with flames shooting high into the sky, and spuming volcanic material. In the upper right quadrant we see Polar Bears floating on icebergs just off the coast. Large sections and trunks of trees float off the coast. Myriad fanciful sea monsters and other creatures inhabit the seas surrounding the island. Each is assigned a letter of the alphabet and described in full detail on the verso. Iceland itself sports more than two hundred place names, probably taken from the Danish.
While containing many inaccuracies, the map, provides the first meaningful depiction of Iceland’s known settlements along with many other points of interest. It is a significant improvement over all previous maps of Iceland and thus it is believed that it was drawn by a native Iclelander, probably Gudbrandur Thorlaksson, a bishop who studied mathematic and astronomy in Copenhagen. The lower right quadrant contains a dedication noting that the map is dedicated to the Illustrious Frederic the Second, King of the Danes, Norwegians, Slavs, Goths, etc., his most merciful Majesty.
Condition: This map is in B+ condition. Separation at the centerfold has been beautifully repaired with archival material on the verso. Even toning throughout.
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