Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.

Abraham Ortelius (*1527 - 1598)
Old coloured map of the North Pole, North Atlantic. Printed in Antwerp by Christoffel Plantin in 1587.

More details

Reference 12682



Ortelius' famous and important map of the North Atlantic. With stunning old colours.

The famous and probably the most beautiful map of the North. Shows the North Atlantic with Scandinavia and Siberia as well as the polar regions. In the south the British Isles with the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, to the west the mythical islands of the North Atlantic Frisland, Brasil, Drogeo and Icaria, as well as Iceland, Greenland and the northwest of Canada. Decorated with sailing ships and sea monsters. A title cartouche at the bottom right.

M. van den Broecke stated about this map:

When this map appeared it was probably the best one of the Scandinavian area so far. Note the fantasy islands Friesland and St. Brandain. Iceland and Greenland are very distorted and too near... Most likely, the brothers Johannes and Lucas van Doetecum were the engravers.

The cartographic sources of the map are the Mercator world map of 1569, the Zeno map of 1558 and the map of Scandinavia by Olaus Magnus 1539. From the 1587 French edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.


CartographerAbraham Ortelius
TitleSeptentrionalium Regionum Descrip.
Publisher, YearChristoffel Plantin, Antwerp, 1587
Plate Size36.0 x 48.8 cm (14.2 x 19.2 inches)
Sheet Size44.3 x 56.1 cm (17.4 x 22.1 inches)
ReferenceVan den Broecke, M.: Ortelius Atlas Maps, No. 160; Van der Krogt, P.: Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, 1200:31; Burden, P.D.: The Mapping of North America No. 40


Small tear in lower white margin backed in centrefold. Very good condition with beautiful old colouring.


Abraham Ortelius was born 1527 in Antwerp. He studied mathematics, Greek and Latin and travelled a lot across Europe. He established a business in dealing with books and drawing maps. His first remarkable map was a 8 sheet world map in the year 1564, but only three copies have survived. In 1570 he issued the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern Atlas with uniformly sized maps in a systematic collection. The term Atlas was not used until Mercator introduced it 20 years later. Most of the maps in Theatrum have been engraved by Frans Hogenberg. At the time of publication, the atlas was the most expensive book ever printed. Nevertheless it was a big success and around 7000 copies have been printed until 1612 in many editions and six different languages. Beside the Theatrum, Ortelius compiled a series of historical maps and published it in the Parergon Theatri which was bound with the Theatrum from 1579 onwards or published separately.

Images to Download

If you like to download the image of this map with a resolution of 1200 pixels, please follow the link below.

You can use this image for publication on your personal or commercial websites for free if you set a link to this website. If you need photographs with a higher resolution, please contact us.

Abraham Ortelius: Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip..
Old coloured map of the North Pole, North Atlantic. Printed in Antwerp by Christoffel Plantin in 1587.

Scandinavia - Ortelius, Abraham - Septentrionalium Regionum Descrip.

Accept We use cookies to optimize and continuously improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you agree to the use of cookies. Further information on cookies can be found in our Privacy Statement.