Typus Orbis Terrarum.

Stunning c.16th world map by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598). This is Ortelius’s third and last world map, published in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, with the date 1587 inscribed beneath the author’s signature on the right hand side of Terra Australia Nondum … Read Full Description


S/N: ORTE-003-WM-1592L1–226966
(RW 07)
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Full Title:

Typus Orbis Terrarum.




Frans Hogenberg 
(1535 – 


Minor splitting at lower centre fold, otherwise in good condition.


Copper engraving with original hand colouring

Image Size: 

x 358mm

Paper Size: 

x 460mm
Typus Orbis Terrarum. - Antique Map from 1589

Genuine antique



Stunning c.16th world map by Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598).

This is Ortelius’s third and last world map, published in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, with the date 1587 inscribed beneath the author’s signature on the right hand side of Terra Australia 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. 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 Aggere, Apianu, Cabotus, Fries, Frisius, Hondius, Finaeus and Planicus.

This map is identified as being from the 1592 Latin edition by the text on the verso with the third line from the top ending with Africam, the last line being in two columns with ANTONIVS VERONENSIS and FRANCISCVS BELLEFORESTIVS, Gallic appearing in the respective columns and Gallice. the last word on the last line.

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 The border of clouds, included on Ortelius’s earlier world map, has been replaced by a more intricate and elegant lattice of strapwork and swag.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 on his previous world map, has now been corrected and the Solomon Islands are marked for the first time. Beach, the northern tip of Terra Australis is shown and above it the land of Java Major (Java), both named by Marco Polo.

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 the leading advocate of a northern passage to the East. 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 province of Beach is written ‘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, the name Psitacorum appears with the explanation ‘this region is so called by the Portuguese because of the unhird of size of birds at that place.’

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.

Van Den Broecke, M. P. R. Ortelius Atlas Maps.1996 Netherlands :: p.3 1592L1.
Kissajukian, L.P. Southland in Search of Spices Maps 1513-1811. Sydney 2013 :: p.15, ill. item13.
Shirley, R. The Mapping of the World Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. London 1987 :: 158, ill. pl.130 (unique state)..
Perry, T. The Discovery of Australia. Sydney 1982 :: p.18, ill.pp.18-19.
Moreland, C. & Bannister, D. Antique Maps. London 1995 :: ill. pl.2,.
Kissajukian, L.P. Antique Maps 1522-1850. Sydney 2016 :: item. 7, ill. p.9.
McMahon, L. & J., Exploring the South Land, 2006 :: vii, ill.vi,.
van der Krogt, P. Globi Neerlandici: The Production of Globes in the Low Countries. Amsterdam 1993 :: 31:041 (1) vol. III A p.95.

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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