2007 Catalog, William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints Home

2007 Catalog > 4. Smith, Map of the Valley of Mexico


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5. Abraham Ortelius. “La Florida / Auctore Hieron. Chiaues” with “Gvastecan” and “Pervviae” Abraham Ortelius / Mendoza / Chaves. “Pervviae Avriferae Regionis Typus / La Florida / Gvastecan” (Antwerp: 1598 [1595]). French edition with a signature “9.” Published in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Copperplate engraving with full bright old hand color. Three maps on one plate: “Peru” (13 1/4 x 8 3/4"); “Florida” (6 x 8 3/4"); “Guasteca” (6 7/8 x 8 5/8"). Sheet size: 16 x 21 1/2" with full margins. French text on verso with several old manuscript notes in ink. Minor scattered spotting and toning; a couple of wormholes; bottom of sheet remargined. Overall, excellent condition with handsome color.

Price: SOLD.

Abraham Ortelius, the father of modern cartography, published this superb three-part map of the New World in editions of his atlas dating from 1584 to 1612. The present example comes from the French edition of 1598, discernible by the signature “9” in the lower right corner of the verso. Of particular importance is La Florida, the first atlas map of the American Southeast, which depicts an area stretching along the Atlantic from the Carolinas to the Mexican coast. It is one of the very few maps printed in the sixteenth century that was based on actual Spanish sources. Drawing heavily on information gathered during Hernando De Soto’s exploration of the area in 1539–42, the map shows for the first time the interior of the American Southeast and Texas gulf coast, with Indian settlements, mountains, and waterways. One of the few prototype maps of the southeastern North America, the influence of the map was considerable. The other two maps on the sheet are of Peru, the source of gold and silver for the Spanish, and Guatemala, with its strategic coastline. Together, the three maps describe in wonderful detail and decorative form the most significant parts of the New World in the second half of the sixteenth century.

The maps are the unmistakable work of Ortelius, the great sixteenth-century cartographer whose Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is generally considered to be the first modern atlas. La Florida first appeared in the third supplement to the atlas, the 1584 Additamentum, and was issued well into the seventeenth century without change. The three maps, which together represent the regions of greatest importance to Spanish colonial and early American history, are highly sought after by American collectors for their cartographic importance, as well as their striking Baroque graphic design. A superb example of this classic regional map of the southeastern United States and Texas gulf coast by one of the most famous cartographers of the Dutch Baroque.

Ref.: Burden, Mapping of North America, no. 57, plate 57; Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, no. 5, pl. 9; Koeman, III, map 103 a, b, c; Reinhartz & Colley, The Mapping of the American Southwest, pp. 8-11; van den Broecke 15. , pp. 203–205.

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