[Antwerp: Plantin Press,] 1595. 3 parts in one volume, folio (435 x 295mm). Latin
Text, Contemporary Publisher’s Panelled calf, central arabesque and cornerpieces, rebacked, Engraved allegorical title, full-page portrait of Ortelius, woodcut architectural border to Parergon title, 147 engraved maps, all coloured by a contemporary hand, all on guards, most double-page, large Plantin device on Nomenclator title map 143 Abrahami Patriarchae Peregrenatio, and map 147, Daphne Antiochiae Suburbium, both from the Parergon are from another copy of the same edition.
A beautiful contemporary coloured copy of the Theatrum in a contemporary binding by one of the most influential cartographers of the 16th century.
The Theatrum is widely recognised as the first modern atlas, which came to shape the future of cartography. The characteristic feature of the Theatrum is, that it consists of two elements, forming part of a unitary whole: text and maps. This concept for a ‘Theatre of the world’ was followed through the 17th century.
Before Ortelius no one had done this” (Koeman). In this edition of the Theatrum only the Nomenclator of the 1595 edition is dated, printed by Plantin who took over the publication of Ortelius’s landmark atlas in 1579. Considerably improved and enlarged since the first edition of 1570, this edition incorporates the maps of the Additamentum V, amounting to 115 numbered maps and 32 maps and views within the Parergon, the atlas of ancient geography. The maps and plates in the Parergon may be considered ‘the most outstanding engravings depicting the wide-spread interest in classical geography in the 16th century’ (Van der Krogt). Amongst the amendments to this edition are the maps of ancient Britain and Egypt. Formerly printed on two sheets each, they were replaced by new maps in this edition, each on one sheet.
The 1595 edition was printed in Antwerp in only 500 copies and with this edition, Ortelius completed a formally unified, aesthetically high-quality, and easily readable map program in book format shortly before his death in 1598. Famous artists of the Middle Ages worked on this project, among them the famous German book engraver Frans Hogenberg.
Provenance: short historical notes in a 17th-century hand on versoes of the maps of Peru and Scotland. Shirley BL, T.ORT–1aa; Van der Krogt 31:051.