An Exceptional Ortelius Rarity in Wonderful Condition. Van Den Broecke Estimates "Five or six copies have survived."
Proof state of this separately-issued map of France, published by Abraham Ortelius and drawn by Guillaume Postel. Van Den Broecke notes that this map was "never regularly included" in any edition of the Theatrum and that fewer than only five or six examples have survived.
According to Van Den Broecke, a single copy of the map exists "without the dotted lines indicating province and country borders, most probably a proof state". The present example of the map also lacks these dotted borders, and so can be considered the third known example of this proof state.
The map derives its cartography from Postel's two-woodblock map of France, which was published in Paris in 1570. It uses the same strapwork cartouche as Mercator's Zelandia, which was first published in 1585. Although it has been said that the cartouche here is a copy of that in the Mercator map, the opposite seems just as likely. The earliest appearance of the map in any Ortelius atlas was in a 1588S, as noted below.
Van Den Broecke (35) remarks:
Denucé mentions a 1598D edition (Plantin Museum, sign. A760) which contains this map. The copy described and shown by Meurer (p. 219, Figure 55) has no text on verso, and the same applies to my copies and to Stopp's copy of this map. I noticed a 1588S edition at Reiss Auctions spring 2005 which contained a copy of this map, but with the Spanish text normally given to Ort34. Apparently, it was sold for a limited time as a separate single sheet map. Also, a copy of the 1613 Dutch edition in the University Library of Amsterdam has the standard text usually found on Ort34.
As pointed out by Gittenberger (personal communication), the cartouche of this map is a close copy of Mercator's Zelandia map.
A fairly close copy of this map, but without hatching of the coat of arms, was included in Bouguereau 1594.
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).