Superbly Decorated Map with Large Sea of the West
"Mappe Monde Carte Universelle de la Terre Dressee sur les Relations les Plus Nouvelles, Soumises aux Observations Astronomiques...", Nolin, Jean Batiste
Period: 1755 (dated)
Color: Hand Color
25.5 x 18.8 inches
64.8 x 47.8 cm
This is an uncommon and striking map of the world in two hemispheres. The map shows a large Mer de l'Ouest (Sea of the West) and two potential Northwest Passages in the Pacific Northwest, although an adjacent notation explains that they are "awaiting verification." There are only a few place names in the interior of North America, including Santa Fe, Quebec, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, St. Augustine, and New Orleans, and Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are interconnected. The continent is divided into French, Spanish and British colonies, with the British confined to a narrow sliver of land along the East Coast. The map shows typical cartography for a mid-eighteenth century map, including partial coastlines for Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. In the North Pacific Ocean, a partially delineated island north of Japan is labeled Terre de la Compagnie (Company's Land), and another partial island further to the east (on the western hemisphere) is noted as "land seen in 1741."
Stunning vignettes representing the four continents fill the corners of the map, each with an allegorical figure presenting a cartouche containing descriptive text, accompanied by a native animal and set in an exotic landscape. Europe includes a horse and symbols of the arts, sciences and war. Africa wears an elephant-head as a hat and stands next to a lion, while Asia holds incense next to a camel. America wears a feathered costume and holds a bow, while a large dinosaur-like creature lays next to an odd-formed human creature that appears to be eating a round piece of fruit. The sides of the map are flanked with columns showing 10 astronomical diagrams of the sun, moon and planetary systems. An armillary sphere sits in the lower cusp of the map, and a grandly decorative title cartouche rests on the upper cusp. This is the first state of this map.
References: McGuirk #49.
A nice impression on paper with a large rosary beads watermark, a few short edge tears that have been archivally repaired, a tiny chip at bottom left, and light soiling mostly confined at far right and left. There are two chips (one at far right and the other at far left) that have been professionally repaired with the neatline replaced in facsimile. Trimmed just outside the plate mark.