Gerard de Jode

Birth: 1509


Gerard de Jode (1509-1591) was a Netherlandish cartographer, engraver and publisher who lived and worked in Antwerp during the 16th century. He was born in Nijmegen and died in Antwerp. In 1547 he was admitted to the Guild of St. Luke, and began his work as a publisher/printseller. He often printed the works of other cartographers including Gastaldi's map of the world in 1555, Jacob van Deventer's map of Brabant in 1558, Ortelius' eight sheet map of the world in 1564, and maps by Bartholomeus Musinus and Fernando Alvares Seco.

His most outstanding work is a two volume atlas Speculum Orbis Terrarum published in 1578. It was aimed at competing with another atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Ortelius, published eight years earlier in 1570. The competing atlas had become so popular by the time he finally published his own atlas however, that his version never sold well, despite his outstanding reputation. Only about a dozen examples have survived.

Gerard de Jode made plans for another enlarged edition, which was uncompleted at his death in 1591. His son Cornelis de Jode took over and published the Speculum Orbis Terrae in 1593. This never sold well either. Scholars consider many of de Jode's maps to be superior to those of Ortelius, both in detail and style.

In constructing his world map, HEMISPHERIUM AB AEQUINOCTIALI LINEA, AD CIRCULUM POLI ANTARCTICI, published in 1593, Gerard de Jode was strongly influenced by Guillaume Postel’s 1581 polar planisphère, Polo aptata Nova Charta Universi. Gerard de Jode was probably the maker of a globe made in Antwerp that also owes much to the cosmographic ideas of Guillaume Postel.

Speculum Orbis Terrarum was once the object of an attempted theft from the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, by rare map thief E. Forbes Smiley III. Smiley was caught and arrested after a library staff member found his X-Acto knife on the floor.

Books & Publications

Book Title Date
Speculum Orbis Terrae (1593) Speculum Orbis Terrae 1593
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