Typus Orbis Terrarum.

Ortelius’s third and last world map, published in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, and dated 1587, inscribed beneath the author’s signature on the right hand side of Terra Australis Nondum Cognita. The map first appeared in only a few copies of … Read Full Description


S/N: ORTE-003-WM-1592L1–184180
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Full Title:

Typus Orbis Terrarum.




Frans Hogenberg 
(1535 – 


In good condition, with centre fold as issued. Wide margins and no repairs.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 358mm
Typus Orbis Terrarum. - Antique Map from 1589

Genuine antique



Ortelius’s third and last world map, published in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, and dated 1587, inscribed beneath the author’s signature on the right hand side of Terra Australis Nondum Cognita.

The map first appeared in only a few copies of the 1589 edition of the Theatrum and then in all others from 1592 to 1612.

Four medallions decorate each corner and feature quotes by the classical Roman statesmen Cicero and Seneca. The border of clouds included on Ortelius’s earlier world maps has been replaced by a more intricate and elegant lattice of strapwork and swag. Many of the new place names appearing along the North American west coast were provided to Ortelius by Richard Hakluyt on the basis of recent explorations. A bulge in South America which appeared in his previous world map, has now been corrected and the Solomon Islands are marked for the first time. The land of Beach is shown and above it lays the land of Java Major , the name given by Marco Polo to the island of Java. Like the influential mapmaker Plancius, Ortelius shows the landmass Terra Sept Emtrionalis Incognita at the north pole separated by narrow straits from the continents of Europe, Asia and North America. Plancius was the pre-eminent Dutch mapmaker of the period and a leading advocate of a northern passage to the East. He was to become the first VOC chartmaker in 1602. New Guinea is shown as an island, although Ortelius includes a note at lower left below the word Noua Guinea stating, ‘Noua Guinea nuper inuenta qu an sit insula an pars continentis Australis incertest’ [New Guinea, recently discovered. Whether this is an island or part of the Southern continent is uncertain]. In the lower right of the map in the provinces of Beach is written: ‘Vastiimas hic ee | regiones ex M Pauli Ven:et | Lud.Vartomann. scriptis pe: | regrationibus constat’. [These regions are very extended, as can be seen in the writings of Paulus Venetus and the travels of Ludovicus Vartomannus] (Varthema). Further towards the centre in Terra Australis Incognita, a note explains: Psitacorum regio | sic a Lusitanis appellata ob | incredibilem earum auium ibidem magnitudem. [This region is called ‘of the Psitaci’ by the Portuguese because of the incredible number of birds of the same size]. The Theatrum included a section called Catalogus Auctorum, which listed the thirty-three cartographers referred to by Ortelius and the eighty-seven geographers known to him at the time. The sources for this map were the world maps by Gastaldi 1561, Mercator 1569 and Gutierrez’s portolan map of the Atlantic 1562. Ortelius also mentions the world maps of Petrusab Aggere, Apianu, Sebastian Cabotus, Laurentius Fries, Gemma Frisius, Doco ab Hemminga Frisius, Jodocus Hondius, Orontius Finaeus and Petrus Planicus. This map is identified as being from the 1592 edition by the text on verso the third line from the top ending with Africam and the last line being in two columns with ANTONIVS VERONENSIS and FRANCISCVS BELLEFORESTIVS, Gallic appearing in the respective columns.

References: . Broecke p.3 1592L1, McMahon vii, ill.vi, Moreland ill. pl.2, Perry p.18, ill.pp.18-19, Shirley 158, ill. pl.130 (unique state).

Edition: First state of the third and last plate of Ortelius’ world map. “South America now assumes the more correct shape… and the Solomon Isles are marked for the first time” (S.). From the Latin ed. 1592.

1592L1 (3rd textline from the top ends: Africam; last line, in two columns: ANTONIVS VERONENSIS; FRANCISCVS BELLEFORESTIVS, Gallicè.),

National Library Australia: Bib ID 3419941 (stated as 1587 which is the date on the map but first issued 1589 / identified edition)
State Library NSW: Call Numbers Z/Ca 59/1 (1598?, / unknown edition)


Abraham Ortelius (1527 - 1598)

Ortelius was a Flemish cartographer, map seller and publisher. Ortelius was a leading cartographer who published the first modern atlas in 1570, Theatrum orbis terrarum in which each map was presented on a separate sheet. He initially trained as an engraver in 1547 and as an illuminator of maps. Influenced by Gerard Mercator he published his first map in 1564 and soon after published his famous atlas that changed the way maps were sold and published.

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