By: Philippe Marie Vandermaelen
Date: 1825-1827 (Published) Brussels
Dimensions: 18.75 x 22.2 inches (47.63 x 56.4 cm)
This Vandermaelen map depicts Tierra del Fuego. In the center of the map is an interesting long description in French which discusses the region in some detail. Voyages of a number of ships flying colors of various countries are described, and interestingly, one such voyage is described as having been beautiful, picturesque, with tranquil seas. According to the description (and not surprisingly), the weather of this region is largely dependent on prevailing winds, and the direction from which they blow.
The annotation describes the eruption of a volcano to the south of the Straits of Magellan amongst mountains covered with snow. Much additional information is provided regarding the landscape and topography, the weather, the indigenous peoples who live in Tierra del Fuego, how their industries are dependent on the climate, and of course the flora and fauna. The focus of the map is the southern coast of the island and the islands closest to it. A number of famous explorers are named.
His maps’ most distinguishing qualities included the use of the same scale and projection for each map. The consistent nature of these elements allowed said maps to be joined together to form a huge globe measuring over 25 feet in diameter.
About Philippe Marie Vandermaelen
Born to a wealthy family, Vandermaelen was more interested in cartography than in his father’s business, and was obsessed with maps from a young age. He taught himself mathematics, astronomy, and mapmaking and even plotted the battles of the Napoleonic wars on his own. He made a mark for himself by publishing the first lithographic atlas, his Atlas Universel, which was considered by many to have been one of the most remarkable world atlases ever made. The Atlas was published once, with only 810 copies of it sold. In 1836 for his services to geography and the intellectual community of Belgium, Vandermaelen was knighted.
Condition: This fine lithograph map, a crisp impression on heavy paper with hand coloring, is in A condition. Two tiny rust spots near the centerfold and minute loss of contrast in part of the text.
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