Ortelius, Americae sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio.
Published 1587 (1591-2), Antwerp
Size: 14.25" X 20"
One of the great maps of the Western Hemisphere that has been described as “one of the most famous and early recognized maps of America, and one that is both functional as well as decorative… and had a great influence on the future cartography of the New World.” The map Americae Sive Novi Orbis was published by Abraham Ortelius’ in his land mark Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first world atlas, and a break from the maps associated with Ptolemy.
The present example is of the third plate, which, unlike the prior two plates, removed the incorrect bulge to the south-western coast of South America and added his imprint stating his authorship for the first time in the bottom right hand quadrant.
This state is important in that it is the first time that the Solomon Islands are depicted. Also of importance are are the new additions of R. De los estrechos, Cab. Mendocino and California on the American West Coast whereas Wingandekoa and an inlet to its north are added in the East Coast in reference to an early English attempt to colonize the region. In fact, Burden has argued “that the inlet could be the first depiction of Chesapeake Bay on a printed map.”
It should be noted that Ortelius’ maps are sought after by collectors not only for their historical and cartographic importance, but because of their artistry. The map is adorned with a style of the Dutch golden age of cartography that includes beautiful cartouches, sailing ships and sea fauna that reference to the age of discovery.
(Sources: Burden #39, #64)