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Scarce first edition of Oronce Fine's (Orontius Finaeus) double cordiform map of the World, published in 1531, with unusually wide margins and a strong dark impression.

Oronce Fine's double cordiform map of the world is one of the mos striking and influential maps of the World published in the 16th Century. First issued in 1531, its earliest appearance is first appeared in the 1532 Paris edition of Johann Huttich and Simon Grynaeus's Novus orbis regionum, a collection of travel accounts that had also been published in Basel several months before.

As noted by Shirley:

The eminent French cartographer Oronce Fine prepared this double-cordiform map: a rendering considerably in advance of any others printed earlier. . .

Fine's map is a detailed woodcut, geographically much superior to the large oval map by Sebastian Münster-Hans Holbein in the Basle editions. Much of the right-hand (or southern) cordum is taken up with the new Terra Australis, noted as being 'recently discovered but not yet explored.' Beyond the tip of South America is marked the Mare magellanicum, one of he first uses of the navigator's name in such a context. Central America contains numerous place names reflecting the conquests and explorations of Cortez in the early 1520s, but further north Fine has unambiguously made the North America continent part of the eastern extremity of Asia. Four islands make up the north polar regions. The separate island of Greenland is named, and a large promontory marked Gaccalar (supposedly Labrador) extend from the North American land mass into the Atlantic.

There is a detailed floral surround to the map, two mermaids, two muscular cherubs, the French royal coat of arms and, at the head of the map, the title in a flowing banner. Oronce Fine's map is one that deserved enlargement on to two sheets. Unfortunately, in many cases the margins of surviving copies are badly frayed as after folding once for insertion into the book they were still too wide for the binding.

Based on sophisticated geometric principles for reducing the spherical earth to a two-dimensional image, Fine's depiction of the World became a model for the next several decades, before the more popular oval formats, double-hemispheric maps, and ultimately Mercator's projection would become the primary means of mapping the world, although none more distinctive than of Fine's double-cordiform.

The present example is state 1 of the map, retaining Fine's name in the lower cartouche. The various states of the map can be identified as follows:

  • State 1: 1531-Orontius F. Delph
  • State 2: 1531-Hermannus Venraed
  • State 3: 1536
  • State 4: 1540
  • State 5: 1541
  • State 6. 1545

While all states are scarce, the first state, being the only state with Oronce Fine's name on the map, is considered the most desirable.

Condition Description
Tear in image at left margin, beginning near Florida and extending several inches within the printed image, expertly (and invisibly) repaired on verso. Left margin extended with a bit of reinstatement of neat line at lower left corner.
Shirley, R.W. (World) 66, state 4; Suarez, T. (Veil) 19; Karrow, R.W. (16 c.) p.179-80, 27/4.4.