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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 3. Abraham Ortelius | Theatrum orbis terrarum. Antwerp, Christoffel Plantin, 1584, 3 parts in one.

Abraham Ortelius | Theatrum orbis terrarum. Antwerp, Christoffel Plantin, 1584, 3 parts in one

Lot Closed

May 24, 01:03 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 GBP

Lot Details


Abraham Ortelius

Theatrum orbis terrarum. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1584

Third Latin edition, folio (402 x 268mm.), 3 parts in one, THEATRUM: engraved architectural title (hand-coloured and heightened with gold by a contemporary hand), hand-coloured engraved portrait of Ortelius by Galle, Catalogus auctorum with 134 names, 100 maps; PARERGON: letterpress title in frame, 12 maps, NOMENCLATOR, letterpress title, together 112 double-page engraved maps (all hand-coloured, Latin manuscript annotations to description of map 2 ('Europa') in an early hand), eighteenth century red crushed morocco, spine with raised bands in seven compartments, morocco label to second compartment, gilt edges, marbled endpapers, title restored at margins, repairs to inner margin of map 1, ink stain to description of map 66, descriptions of some maps shaved at upper margins, map 110 shaved at upper margin, many leaves laid down or reinforced at margins, a few small holes or marginal tears, some marginal browning and dampstaining, extremities rubbed

The Theatrum is widely recognised as the first modern atlas, which came to shape the future of cartography. "Shape and contents set the standards for later atlases, when the centre of the map-trade moved from Antwerp to Amsterdam. The characteristic feature of the Theatrum is, that it consists of two elements, forming part of a unitary whole: text and maps. This concept for a 'Theatre of the world' was followed through the 17th century. Before Ortelius no one had done this" (Koeman). The appended Catalogus auctorum is a unique source of names of contemporary cartographers, some of whom would otherwise have remained obscure. 

Koeman notes that 'Plantin printed slightly fewer than 800 copies of this edition' (Koeman III, p. 87).


Koeman III, 31:031; Van der Krogt, Ort 21


Guidobald Albert Joseph Grafen von Lodron zu Haag (died 1729), manuscript inscription to title; Gräflich Toerring-Gutenzell Bibliothek, library stamps to versos of preliminary leaves