Folio (17 2/8 x 12 6/8 inches). Title-page with woodcut arms (laid down on contemporary stock), letterpress "Table des Cartes" (extensively repaired on verso). Double-page engraved "Mappemonde ou carte generale" (1651) (repaired on verso with missing text supplied in manuscript), and 130 maps, all hand-colored in outline and mounted on guards throughout (occasional light spotting, browning or marginal dampstaining, last map of Ancient Greece repaired on verso). Late 17th-century calf gilt (spine and corners with early restoration).
Provenance: Maps numbered consecutively in a 17th-century hand.
A comprehensive edition of Sanson's important work, containing a number of important maps pertaining to the Americas:
"Mappemonde ou carte generale" (1651), "L'Hydrographie ou description de L'Eau" (1652), "Harmonie ou Correspondance du Globe" (1659) all showing California as an island;
"Amerique Septentrionale" (1650), the first to show all five Great Lakes;
"Le Canada, ou Nouvelle France" (1656);
"Le Nouveau Mexique et la Floride" (1656);
"Mexicque ou Nouvelle Espagne" (1656);
"Les Isles Antilles." (1656);
"Amerique Meridionale" (1650);
"Terre Ferme ou sont les Governations, ou Gouvernemens de Terre Ferme, Cartagene, St. Marthe, Rio De la Hache, Venezuela, Nouvelle Andaluise, Popyan" (1656);
"Partie de Terre Ferme ou sont Guiane et Caribane" (1656);
"Le Perou et le course de la Rivre Amazone" (1656);
"Le Chili" (1656);
"Le Bresil" (1656);
"Le Paraguayr, Le Chili, et Les Isles Magellanicques" (1656);
"Les Deux Poles." (1657);
and "Orbis Vetus." (1657).
The maps in this Atlas date from 1632 "Carte Geographique des Postes qui traversent la France" by Melchior Tavernier through to 1665. The maps were compiled by Nicolas Sanson who first published his atlas in 1654, with 100 maps, and engraved and printed by Pierre Mariette; each held the copyright to half of the maps which bear their separate imprints, and were issued progressively from 1630.
Born in Abbeville, a town in the Picardy region of France, in 1600, Sanson was the most noted French cartographer in modern history. Mapmaker to Louis XIV, King of France, Sanson endowed his maps with the most recent geographical information as well as the finest and sharpest engraving of the period. His "Cartes Generales de Toutes les Parties du Monde" was the most important single product of French commercial cartography of the seventeenth century. Sanson sparked a renaissance in geographical endeavor in his native country, which had not been a major player on the international cartographic stage since the great Oronce Finé in the sixteenth century. With this atlas, Sanson laid the foundations of French domination in map production, initiating the so-called "French school of cartography," a school that was unprecedented in its attention to precision and scientific detail and discarded much of the decorative embellishments of previous maps as irrelevant.
From Sanson's time in the second half of the seventeenth century until the latter part of the eighteenth century, French geographical conceptions were more influential than those put forward by any other nation. With this landmark atlas, Sanson all but single-handedly caused the center of cartographic innovation to shift from Holland to France. The index calls for 113 titles, but as was often the case more maps have been added to this copy at the time of purchase. Cf. NMM 3, 271. Catalogued by Kate Hunter