This is a very attractive 1595 map of Ireland by Gerard Mercator. It is one of the earliest maps of Ireland, only the second to appear in an atlas. It is Mercator's first map of the island. Oriented to the west, the map covers the Emerald Isle in considerable detail, noting numerous towns, rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and a host of additional topographic features. Mountains and forests are beautifully rendered in profile. The map divides Ireland into the four provinces of Ulster, Connaught, Leinster and Munster.
The Predominant View of Ireland of the Early 17th Century The map was first issued during the Nine Year War, a rebellion between Irish clans and their allies against British Rule. The war resulted in an English victory. The war also brought on the famine of Ulster, caused by the destruction of crops by the British, which resulted in as many as sixty thousand deaths. These tumultuous events are not reflected on the map, however. Mercator drew upon data he had compiled for his own eight-sheet British Isles wall map of 1564; his geography would remain state of the art well into the 17th century. Ortelius, in producing an Ireland map for his own atlas, relied almost entirely upon the same data.
Publication History and Census This map was first printed in 1595 for inclusion in Mercator's Atlas. The plates were later purchased by Jodocus Hondius, who continued to use them as the basis for his own atlases, gradually adding his own plates to the work. The map remained in the Hondius and Jansson atlases unchanged until 1636, at which point Mercator's name was removed from the plate. Shortly thereafter Jansson replaced the map with an entirely new work. This present map is an example of the first state, and was included in either the 1628 or 1633 French edition of the Hondius atlas. Examples appear on the market from time to time and the map is reasonably well represented in institutional collections.
Gerard Mercator (1512 - 1594) is a seminal figure in the history of cartography. Mercator's calculations and map designs redefined the 16th century concept of cartography and were the first to break away from the Ptolemy model. Many of his systems of measurement, such as the Mercator Projection, are still in use today. Despite his prominence as a cartographer, he started his career as a crafter of scientific instruments. He did not construct his first map until 1540, when he made two maps, one of Flanders and another of Palestine. These two impressive works earned him the patronage of the Emperor Charles V, for whom he construed a globe and several large scale maps. Despite this imperial patronage, Mercator was accused of heresy and in 1552 fled to Duisburg. In Duisburg he set himself up as a cartographer and began work on his revised edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. This three volume work was the first book to be called an "Atlas", after the Titan and King of Mauritania. Following Mercator's death his descendants took over his firm but languished because of heavy competition from the Ortelius firm. It was not until Mercator's plates were purchased and republished ( Mercator / Hondius ) by Henricus Hondius and Jan Jansson that Mercator's position as the preeminent cartographer of the age was re-established. Learn More...
Jodocus Hondius (October, 14 1563 - February 12, 1612) was an important Dutch cartographer active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His common name, Jodocus Hondius is actually a Latinized version of his Dutch name, Joost de Hondt. He is also sometimes referred to as Jodocus Hondius the Elder to distinguish him from his sons. Hondius was a Flemish artist, engraver, and cartographer. He is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator, and for his portraits of Francis Drake. Hondius was born and raised in Ghent. In his early years he established himself as an engraver, instrument maker and globe maker. In 1584 he moved to London to escape religious difficulties in Flanders. During his stay in England, Hondius was instrumental in publicizing the work of Francis Drake, who had made a circumnavigation of the world in the late 1570s. In particular, in 1589 Hondius produced a now famous map of the cove of New Albion, where Drake briefly established a settlement on the west coast of North America. Hondius' map was based on journal and eyewitness accounts of the trip and has long fueled speculation about the precise location of Drake's landing, which has not yet been firmly established by historians. Hondius is also thought to be the artist of several well-known portraits of Drake that are now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 1593, Hondius returned to Amsterdam, where he remained until the end of his life. In 1604, he purchased the plates of Gerard Mercator's Atlas from Mercator's grandson. Mercator's work had languished in comparison to the rival atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Ortelius. Hondius republished Mercator's work with 36 additional maps, including several which he himself produced. Despite the addition of his own contributions, Hondius recognizing the prestige of Mercator's name, gave Mercator full credit as the author of the work, listing himself as the publisher. Hondius' new edition of Mercator revived the great cartographer's reputation and was a great success, selling out after a year. Hondius later published a second edition, as well as a pocket version called the Atlas Minor. The maps have since become known as the "Mercator/Hondius series". Between 1605 and 1610 Hondius was employed by John Speed to engrave the plates for Speed's The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Following Hondius' death in 1612, his publishing work in Amsterdam was continued by his widow and two sons, Jodocus II and Henricus. Later his family formed a partnership with Jan Jansson, whose name appears on the Atlasas co-publisher after 1633. Eventually, starting with the first 1606 edition in Latin, about 50 editions of the Atlas were released in the main European languages. In the Islamic world, the atlas was partially translated by the Turkish scholar Katip Çelebi. The series is sometimes called the 'Mercator/Hondius/Jansson' series because of Jansson's later contributions. Hondius' is also credited with a number of important cartographic innovations including the introduction of decorative map borders and contributions to the evolution of 17th century Dutch wall maps. The work of Hondius was essential to the establishment Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century. Learn More...
Mercator, G., Atlas sive Cosmographicae, (Amsterdam : Hondius)
Very good. Lightly toned; two marginal mends well away from printed image. French text on verso.