Catalog Archive
Auction 130, Lot 691

"[Lot of 2] Carte Marine de la Mer Caspiene [with] Sur la Mer Caspiene et Partie de Celles de Tartarie", Delisle, Guillaume

Subject: Caspian Sea

Period: 1723 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

24.5 x 18.3 inches
62.2 x 46.5 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

Fabulous, and important, two-sheet map is from the surveys of Karl van Verden from 1719-21. The maps are beautifully engraved with relief along the shoreline shown pictorially, and the sea is crossed with rhumb lines. The northern sheet includes three inset maps and is attractively embellished with a title and advertisement cartouches, one bedecked with dragons. The southern sheet includes three insets of river mouths on the Persian coast and two insets of gulfs on the coast of what is now Turkmenistan.

The Caspian Sea remained a mystery through much of cartographic history. It was originally thought to be a huge gulf in the northern ocean and was not recognized as a landlocked sea until the late medieval period. It was then presented in a variety of shapes and sizes, nearly always on an east-west axis. It was not accurately mapped until the early 18th century when the surveys of Karl van Verden were commissioned by Russia. In 1721, Peter the Great presented the French Academy a copy of the recently completed map by S.I. Soimonov and Karl van Verden. Delisle copied (in a reduced size) the original map with great care, translated the inscriptions into French, and printed it on two sheets for publication in the Academy's Bibliographie Générale des Travaux Historiques... and in his own atlases.


Condition: A

Overall very good, with dark impressions and lovely old color. There are several worm tracks in blank margins with a couple small worm holes in the maps.

Estimate: $750 - $850

Sold for: $550

Closed on 12/2/2009