Leen Helmink Antique Maps

America by Mercator

Cartographer

Mercator

Title

America sive India Nova

Published

Duisburg, 1595

Size

36.6 x 46.1 cms

Technique

Copper engraving

Stock number

18654

Condition

mint

Price

$ 4800

Description

"After the death of the great Gerard Mercator in 1594 it was left to his son Rumold to publish the last of three parts that formed his famous atlas, the 'Atlantis Pars Altera'. The atlas was finished with a number of maps engraved by various descendants of Gerard. The task of the American maps was given to his grandson Michael. The only printed map known to be by him, it is beautifully engraved. It is not well known that he was the engraver of the famous Drake silver medal of 1589. At that time he was resident in London.

It is a hemispherical map contained within an attractive floral design, and surrounded by four roundels, one of which contains the title. The other three contain maps of the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and Hispaniola, all spheres of Spanish influence. The general outline is largely taken from Rumold Mercator's world map of 1587, with a little more detail added. A few of the most famous theories are still present: a large inland lake in Canada, two of the four islands of the North Pole [...], a bulge to the west coast of South America and the large southern continent. It does not show any knowledge of the English in Virginia, which is possibly a reflection of their failure by then. A large St. Lawrence River is shown originating half way across the continent."

(Burden).


"The representation of America is fairly conventional for large-scale maps of this period, and the marginal insets add a touch of welcome detail. Note that New Guinea is on the same meridian as Alaska."

(Portinaro).