Catalog Archive
Auction 171, Lot 95

Delisle's Foundation Map of North America

"L'Amerique Septentrionale. Dressee sur les Observations de Mrs. de l'Academie Royale des Sciences...", Delisle, Guillaume

Subject: Colonial North America

Period: 1700 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

23.8 x 17.9 inches
60.5 x 45.5 cm
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This historically important foundation map made three significant contributions to the cartography of North America. It was the first map to revert back to the peninsular form for California, even before the publication of Kino's report. Although on close inspection one can see a small gap at the head of the Gulf of California, leaving open the possibility that California might still be an island. Delisle's second contribution to North American cartography was a more accurate rendition of the Great Lakes region. Third, Delisle corrected the position of the lower Mississippi River, moving the mouth of the river from an area near Galveston Bay to a more correct location in Louisiana. The English settlements are confined east of the Allegheny Mountains, French forts and settlements are located throughout Louisiana and Spanish forts are clustered around Santa Fe. The first mention of what would be called the Sargasso Sea is noted in the North Atlantic. The map is decorated with an aquatic-themed figural cartouche and a draped scale of miles. This sixth state of the original plate engraved by N. Guerard was published circa 1708. Erasures of Renard's imprint can be seen below the title cartouche.

References: Mercator's World Vol. 6, No. 4, pp. 44-49; Tooley (Amer) p. 19, #30; Wheat [TMW] #79; Burden #761.

Condition: B+

A nice impression on watermarked paper with original wash and outline color. There are a few small stains in the bottom corners, an archivally repaired centerfold separation confined to the bottom blank margin, a crease adjacent to the centerfold, a tiny hole in the Avertissement, and light toning along the edges of the sheet.

Estimate: $1,900 - $2,200

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 2/6/2019