The first atlas wholly printed in colours
By PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius and Bernardus SYLVANUS , 1511

Liber geographiae cum tabulis et universali figura et cum additione locorum quae a recentiorbus reperta sunt.

  • Author: PTOLEMAEUS, Claudius and Bernardus SYLVANUS
  • Publication place: Venice
  • Publisher: Jacobus Pentius de Lencho
  • Publication date: 1511.
  • Physical description: Folio atlas (440 by 300mm), title in red, poem on verso printed in red and black, 6pp. preliminary text printed in red and black, 115pp. text printed in red and black with four woodcut and letterpress diagrammatic illustrations, 28 woodcut maps printed in red and black (each double-page with all but the final world map printed in red and black in two sections on facing pages), contemporary limp vellum.

    Collation: [4]; A8, B-H6, I8, 28 maps.
  • Inventory reference: 11550


A very fine example of the Venetian editon of Ptolemy’s ‘Geographia’. This is the first illustrated edition of Ptolemy’s work in which an attempt was made to update the information given on the maps. It is also one of the earliest examples of two-colour printing in cartography, with the major regional names printed in red and others in black, using inset type. The large cordiform world map is the earliest of its kind, and this is only the second Ptolemaic world map to show America (“Regalis domus” and “Terra laboratoru[m]”). It is also the first printed map to indicate Japan (“Zampagu Ins”).


From the library of Samuel Latham Mitchell Barlow (1826-1889), a New York lawyer, who built up one of the most important collections in the nineteenth century. He worked with Henry Harrisse on ‘Notes on Columbus’, an invaluable work for the biography and bibliography of the discovery of the New World.


  1. Mickwitz, Nordenskiöld 2:204
  2. Phillips 358
  3. Sabin 66477
  4. Shirley, World, 32.

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