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A Previously Unrecorded World Map by De Jode

One of two known examples of a two-plate proto-type map which preceded Cornelis De Jode's famous double hemisphere World Map of 1593, which appears on the cover of Rodney Shirley's Mapping of the World.

Almost certainly prepared for De Jode, this separately issued map is the precursor and inspiration for De Jode's double hemisphere polar projection map of 1593. In a 2010 addendum to Mapping of the World, Rodney Shirley identifies for the first time the existence of this map.

De Jode's map of the World (Shirley 184) is one of the great icons of map collecting. The map first appeared in the 1593 edition of De Jode's Speculum Orbis Terrarum. De Jode's 1593 map is based upon the now lost first edition of Guillaume Postel's wall map of the World (1581) and a unique set of Globe Gores measuring 2.4 meters x 1.2 meters (ca.1587 known in 1 copy (Bibliotheque Nationale de France), attributed by Marcel Destombes to engravers Antoine Wierix and Adrian Collard, and likely made for Cornelis De Jode (referred to by Destombes as the Antwerp Unicum).

The present map, first discovered in 2009, is almost certainly the prototype map for De Jode's 1593 map and provides the link between the Postel and Antwerp Unicum maps , and the 1593 De Jode map. There are a number of features which strongly indicate that the present map pre-dates De Jode's map of 1593. These include the following:

  1. The square configuration of the British Isles is indicative of an earlier style for depicting the British Isles than the configuration used in De Jode's 1593 map.
  2. A comparison of the annotations which originate on the Antwerp Unicum and are copied in abbreviated format on De Jode's 1593 map, shows that in each instance, the same annotations appear on this prototype map, except that the prototype map provides a slightly longer format and is a more close copy of the annotations on the Antwerp Unicum. As such, it is clear that the annotations on the 1593 De Jode map are shortened versions of the annotations on this prototype map. Several examples of this sequence are shown below:
Above Japan:

a. Antwerp Unicum: Iapan ins. priscis Chryse a M. Paulo Veneto Zypangri appellatur

b. Prototype Map: Amplissima Iapan a M. Paulo Veneto appellata

c. 1593 De Jode: Nothing

In lower part of South Pole:

a. Antwerp Unicum: Aestuosus propter pulvinos vada brevia scopuliquein eo multi una cum montibus eminentiss. quos unque viderunt Lusitani

b. Protoype Map: Lusitani transcendentes Ultra promentorium Boni Spei hanc terrarum Austru Versus extare Viderunt sed nondu implorauerunt

c. 1593 De Jode: Lusitani bone Spei Legentes capitis promontrium, hanc terram austru versque extare viderunt: sed nondu implorauere

Among its more unusual features, the present map provides an alternative name ( Estrecho de Victoria) for the Straits of Magellan (named for Magellan's flagship), which only appeared on De Jode's maps of South America and a Wall Map Fragment known in 1 sheet in the possession of the Library of Congress, and one later map by Gerard Mercator.

Another interesting feature of the map is the erroneous creation of a land bridge between the polar islands and the European main-land, an engraver's error or misinterpretation of the information contained on Mercator's 21-sheet wall map of the World from 1569. As noted by Destombes:

[Postel] states in a legend of his map that the inhabitants of the Arctic regions can in winter pass over an ice bridge, which is actually shown. The author of the globe [gores] has taken this conglomeration of ice floes for an isthmus, thus linking Asia with one of the northern islands of Mercator and closing the famous North-East Passage. This error was reproduced by Cornelis de Jode in his map 2 of the 1593 Speculum .

We believe that present map was originally engraved to be used as polar inset maps for a large wall map of the world, similar to Mercator's 21-sheet wall map of 1569 or Plancius' 18-sheet wall map of 1592. The map was clearly printed using 2 separate copper plates. Each plate would appear to have been cut down or masked off at the top and at the left and right sides. The masking is clearly evident at the top, cutting through the title cartouches and strap work. While less apparent on the left and right sides, in both instances, the outer ring of the hemispheres has been cut off in a way that is characteristic of a masked plate. There is other evidence of masking which can be clearly seen. Even the line along the bottom of the map shows engraving below what appears to the neat line.

Based upon the foregoing observations, it would seem plausible that the present map was in fact printed from two plate, which were part of an unrecorded wall map, prepared circa 1587. The use of polar insets on wall maps of the world had been established in Mercator's Wall Map of 1569, which includes a north polar inset in the lower left corner of this 21-sheet map. By contrast, world maps on polar hemispheric projections from this period were rarely produced, with only the maps of Oronce Fine of 1531 (Shirley 66), Antonio Salamanca in 1550 (Shirley 91), Floriano of 1555 (Shirley 99), and Jost Amman of 1564 (Shirley 113) employing a polar hemispheric projection. Moreover, no pair of polar hemisphere projections were used as insets on a wall map until those used by Petrus Plancius in his 18-sheet wall map of 1592.

Based upon available evidence, the best guess would be that these two sheets could have been made for the lost De Jode Wall map of the world, which Shirley describes as a " c.1580 De Jode (wall map, perhaps after Gastaldi)." It is noteworthy that Gastaldi's world map of 1561 on 9 sheets includes a pair of hemispheres in the lower let and right corners, surrounded by windheads. It is certainly plausible that in updating the map, De Jode would have employed polar hemispheres, in order to incorporate the work of Mercator (1569 World Map) and Postel and the greater interest in the cartographic details of the Polar regions.

Following our showing him the map, Rodney Shirley added the following description in his 4th Addenda and Corrigenda:

174(B) Cornelis de Jode c.1590 or earlier?
In July 2010, Barry L Ruderman, the Californian map dealer, notified me of an unrecorded De Jode world map similar to Cornelis' twin hemispherical world map on north and south polar projections (Entry 184). However, the titles at the top of each hemisphere are different, as are the cherubic borders, as also are numerous geographical details. For instance, the small rendering of the British Isles is more rectangular (and thus probably earlier) than on Cornelis de Jode's 1593 map. As a prototype, Ruderman suggested a date range of 1585-89 which further research may confirm.
A further example has subsequently (March 2011) been advised by Reiss & Sohn.

This is the example we acquired in March 2011 and resold to a private collection, which is now being resold by its owner.


One of two known examples, the second having been purchased by this firm and sold to a private collection.

Condition Description
Old color. Printed on two plates.