“GALLIAE tabule geographicæ…” Amsterdam: Gerard Mercator, c. 1585. Beautiful copperplate engraving with original hand-coloring, heightened with gold. Some damp-staining evident. (Image: 12 ½ x 8 5/8’’)
This page is built around a classical rectangular arch and depicts the King of France (probably Henri III) peering down at the atlas title which is surrounded by intricate fretwork, vegetation and birds. Beautifully hand colored with watercolor and heightened with gold! Reference: Shirley Art of the Decorative Cartographic Titlepage, # 17 - illustrated.
“An integral part of map collecting is the study of frontispieces and title pages of atlases. They are usually very elaborate affairs, engraved by the finest craftsmen available, not only announcing the title of the volume, but enticing the viewer to look further into the pages...” (R. B. Williams; Investing in Maps; p.147-9).