A handsome example of the 1602 French-language miniature Ortelius Theatrum, published by Johan Baptiste Vrients following his acquisition of the text and plates, which had been previously been published by Philippe Galle in 1598.
Vrients became heavily involved in the disposition of the Ortelius estate following the latter's death in 1598. In 1601, he acquired the plates for and evidently some text for the Epitome. He would also take over printing of the folio Theatrum.
Van Der Krogt notes:
Identical to 332:03 [the Galle 1598 edition] (printed from the same setting). However, the original preliminary section was replaced by an extra gathering "A" with three maps, and many maps were replaced by newly engraved ones. The 1601 French edition mentioned in the first edition of the Atlantes Neerlandici (vol. III, p. 77, Ort 59) proved to be a 1601 Latin edition.
The book includes the newly prepared world map, of which Shirley (231) notes:
In 1601 the plates for Ortelius' Epitome were acquired for printing by Jan Baptist Vrients, who later took over the larger plates of his Theatrum. The miniature oval world map (Ortelius-Galle (2)) introduced in 1588
was retained and an additional small double-hemispherical world map inserted. Although this has no title the words Globus Terrestris or their translation are printed in the margin at the head of the map. Beneath the
two hemispheres is a scene showing trees and parkland in the centre of which stands a church.
It is worth noting that the correction in New Koeman means that the Shirley entry for a French edition of the map from 1601 is now erroneous. The first French-language edition of the map was in this 1602 atlas.
Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet, of Pollock (1818-1878);
Private American collection
Abraham Ortelius is perhaps the best known and most frequently collected of all sixteenth-century mapmakers. Ortelius started his career as a map colorist. In 1547 he entered the Antwerp guild of St Luke as afsetter van Karten. His early career was as a business man, and most of his journeys before 1560, were for commercial purposes. In 1560, while traveling with Gerard Mercator to Trier, Lorraine, and Poitiers, he seems to have been attracted, largely by Mercator’s influence, towards a career as a scientific geographer. From that point forward, he devoted himself to the compilation of his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), which would become the first modern atlas.
In 1564 he completed his “mappemonde", an eight-sheet map of the world. The only extant copy of this great map is in the library of the University of Basel. Ortelius also published a map of Egypt in 1565, a plan of Brittenburg Castle on the coast of the Netherlands, and a map of Asia, prior to 1570.
On May 20, 1570, Ortelius’ Theatrum Orbis Terrarum first appeared in an edition of 70 maps. By the time of his death in 1598, a total of 25 editions were published including editions in Latin, Italian, German, French, and Dutch. Later editions would also be issued in Spanish and English by Ortelius’ successors, Vrients and Plantin, the former adding a number of maps to the atlas, the final edition of which was issued in 1612. Most of the maps in Ortelius' Theatrum were drawn from the works of a number of other mapmakers from around the world; a list of 87 authors is given by Ortelius himself
In 1573, Ortelius published seventeen supplementary maps under the title of Additamentum Theatri Orbis Terrarum. In 1575 he was appointed geographer to the king of Spain, Philip II, on the recommendation of Arias Montanus, who vouched for his orthodoxy (his family, as early as 1535, had fallen under suspicion of Protestantism). In 1578 he laid the basis of a critical treatment of ancient geography with his Synonymia geographica (issued by the Plantin press at Antwerp and republished as Thesaurus geographicus in 1596). In 1584 he issued his Nomenclator Ptolemaicus, a Parergon (a series of maps illustrating ancient history, sacred and secular). Late in life, he also aided Welser in his edition of the Peutinger Table (1598).