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Final edition of the famous Mercator-Hondius atlas,
with 164 maps attractively coloured by a contemporary hand

MERCATOR, Gerard and Henricus HONDIUS.
Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. ... Editio decima.
[Amsterdam], heirs of Henricus Hondius, 1630. Folio (47 x 34 cm). With engraved title-page, engraved double-page portrait of Mercator and Hondius; 4 engraved divisional title-pages, 164 engraved maps (almost all double-page) and many woodcut initials and tailpieces, all fully coloured by a contemporary hand, with some occasional details highlighted with gum arabic, and with the title-pages with some text and details highlighted in gold. All maps with letterpress texts on the back. 18th-century gold- and blind-tooled calf, gilt edges.
€ 125,000
Contemporary coloured copy of the final Hondius edition of the Mercator atlas, the greatest atlas of all time, first published posthumously in 1595. The Mercator atlas was the first to bear the name Atlas and it set the standard for all to come. Surely no atlas has ever been so influential. Although Ortelius's 1570 atlas helped to establish many of the modern conventions for atlases, Mercator (1512-1594) took further steps. Moreover, Ortelius borrowed and adapted his maps from existing ones, while Mercator's were entirely new. In 1630, the year of the present edition, it was still the most significant geographical work of its time. However, this was also the year that Blaeu would introduce his grand atlas. The present edition includes nine new maps, not included in the previous edition of 1623.
From the Schaffgotsch library, which had its roots in the 16th-century, with the initials of count Carl von Schaffgotsch. Title-page restored at the foot and in the fore-edge margins, affecting the engraving and especially the imprint, with the gaps in the text and a small part of the illustration restored in manuscript, the following three leaves also with marginal restorations; double-portrait with a small restoration in the gutter, just touching the image; and some minor restorations throughout, mostly in the margins. One map (Tabula III Hollandiae) with a large piece torn off in the lower margin and reattached, but with some loss to the engraving, not affecting the letterpress text on the back. The restorations to the title-page show that the atlas must have been coloured well before the 18th-century endleaves and binding, which are in very good condition. All maps except the one already noted are in very good condition. An attractively coloured copy of the famous Mercator-Hondius atlas.
Keuning, "The history of an atlas", in: Imago Mundi IV, pp. 37-62; Koeman, Me 29B; Koeman & V.d. Krogt 1:107.
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