Carte Ancienne De La Suisse Avec Des Remarques Abregees Sur Les Divers Evenemens Et Revolutions Qui Sont Arrivees, Et Particulierement Celles Qui Ont Donne Lieu A leur Liberte.
By: Henri Abraham Chatelain
Date: 1719 (Published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 14 x 17.8 inches (35.6 x 4.2 cm)
This beautiful map of Switzerland (Helvetii), is a splendid example of the science, skills and talent Chatelain brought to his works. The map is double-page copper engraved, in Chatelain’s usual style with the map image in the center and descriptive historical text and imagery surrounding it. It features the various ranges of the Alps, larger lakes, and the names of the peoples who constituted the Old Swiss Confederacy and the Ancien Regime, which lasted from the 14th century till 1798, when subsumed by the French Revolutionary Army and reconstituted as the Helvetic Republic.
This engraving provides a detailed account of Swiss history, as well as an impressive inset map of ancient Switzerland. Particular attention is paid to the formation of the Swiss State and to the legend of Swiss patriot William Tell. While historical evidence of Tell is disputed, according to legend he was a peasant from the Canton of Uri who, in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, defied Austrian authority and was thus ordered to shoot an apple sitting atop his young son’s head, and Chatelain thus depicts the young Tell, roped to a tree. The legend has it that Tell was arrested for threatening the governor, saved the same, and then ultimately killed him in an ambush. These events purportedly spurred an uprising against Austrian rule. The classic form of the legend appears in the Chronicon Helveticum (1734–36), by Gilg Tschudi, which gives November 1307 as the date of Tell’s deeds and New Year 1308 as the date of Switzerland’s liberation. Despite the lack of evidence for Tell’s existence the story of the marksman’s test is widely distributed in folklore. In the early Romantic era of nationalist revolutions, the Tell legend attained worldwide renown through the stirring play Wilhelm Tell (1804) by the German dramatist Friedrich von Schiller.
The bottom of the sheet is adorned with a series of vignettes depicting the legend of William Tell, and showing the Swiss to be proud and fierce. A numbered key identifies the specific events illustrated in the images. Various tables as well as the lengthy historical notes make this impressive engraving a wonderful example of Chatelain’s superb work.
Condition: This map is in A condition. Slight toning and staining in the borders do not enter the image.
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