By: Nicolas De Fer
Date: 1713 (dated) Paris
Dimensions: 43 x 62 inches (109 cm x 157 cm)
This is an exciting and original example of De Fer’s rare and extraordinarily influential wall map of the Americas, published at the tail end of the 17th century. At the time of its publication, European nations were in an all-out race to colonize the “new world.” New information was at a premium and the need for financial and national support was crucial in the efforts to conquer these new lands and bear all the riches that came with them. This exceptional map by De Fer accomplished both of those initiatives in a most alluring style.
The map is in four sheets and is the work of Hendrick van Loon and Nicolas Guérard. We may presume that van Loon engraved the map and Guérard designed and engraved the wonderful cartouches and inset scenes surrounding the whole. This map is most famously known for being the first to include two spectacular scenes which reference the major industries and opportunities for wealth and enterprise in the new world; Cod Fishing and Beaver Pelts. In the top left, a colony of beavers is shown in a most industrious fashion, building a damn with Niagara Falls in the background. The scene in the top right depicts a Cod fishing factory situated within the Grand Banks of North America. These scenes would later be used by Herman Moll for maps that carry high value, in part because of the inclusion of such scenes.
Surrounding the map are several smaller scenes that according to Burden depict, “Canadian savages, ancient Mexico, people of New Mexico, the Buccaneers or Filibusters, people of La Plata, Peru, Chile, Brazilians, Virginia and Illinois. These are framed by six medallions of Ferdinand Magellan, Artha Balipa, Christophe Colombe, François Pissar., Mote-Zuma Roy de Mexique and Americq Vespuse.” Extensive panels of text descriptions flank the map on either side and offer a wealth of information to accompany this already remarkable cartographic masterpiece.
Condition: This map is in B condition, with light soiling and some ink spotting throughout. There are several small areas of paper loss mostly confined to but not limited to the margins. The map at one point was partially colored and backed with a fine archival paper.
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