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A Great Rarity From Two Towering Cartographic Rivals

World. JODE, G. DE/ ORTELIUS, A. [Antwerp, 1571/ 1578]
Universi Orbis Seu Terreni Globi in Plano Effigies... 13 ¼ x 20 ½ inches.
Fine condition.


A very rare, striking map of the world, in superb condition. This is among the most desirable and unusual depictions of the world, because both geographically and aesthetically it was one the first maps to herald the shift of cartographic dominance from Italy to the Low Countries. The attractive and elegant cordiform projection – bordered with wind-heads and clouds, and flanked by terrestrial and celestial globes – was crafted for De Jode by the famous Doetecum brothers, “who so skillfully etched most of the maps that they appear to be engraved” (Shirley).
The earliest obtainable of De Jode’s world maps, this is also the only acquirable glimpse of the first cartographic work of his greatest rival, Abraham Ortelius. De Jode’s map is a very faithful reduction of the younger Ortelius’ wall map of 1564, whose execution was “of a high standard and indicative of the new school of map making in the Low Countries that was to surpass the Italians over the next 150 years” (Shirley). De Jode initially named his source in this map’s original title, but by the time this map was included in the 1578 Speculum, the formerly apparently cooperative Ortelius and De Jode were embroiled in a fierce rivalry centered on their competing atlases. It is unsurprising therefore that the name of De Jode’s competitor would no longer appear on this map.
While Shirley suggests Mercator’s 1541 globe to be a key source for the 1564 Ortelius map, much of its cartography in fact draws upon Gastaldi’s 1561 world map. Most notably, both the De Jode and its predecessor map follow Gastaldi in showing a distinct strait between North America and Asia; Gastaldi’s map was the first to do so. De Jode’s is the only acquirable map to reflect this early stage of the mapping of the Pacific Northwest. The northeastern portion of North America appears to be quite unique, showing a broad Northwest Passage opening beyond a confused rendering of Maritime Canada. Ortelius’ cartography would be quickly supplanted by that of Gerard Mercator, thanks largely to a great reliance upon Mercator’s work in Ortelius’ own Theatrum. Hence the vision of the world presented in this map is among the most unique available to the collector, and it is one which speaks to the dynamism of the earliest stages of Dutch mapmaking.
The dark marking extending from the letter E in the title is the result of a crack in the plate and is not be regarded as a flaw.

Shirley 124, State 2; R. A. Skelton, Introduction to the Facsimile Edition of De Jode’s Speculum Orbis Terrae.

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