Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 61

Delisle's Foundation Map of North America

"L'Amerique Septentrionale. Dressee sur les Observations de Mrs. de l'Academie Royale des Sciences. & Quelques Autres, & sur les Memoires les Plus Recens", 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+

Watermarked paper with minor soiling and printer's creases adjacent to centerfold at bottom. There are professional repairs to small chips in the blank margins, a tear that enters 2" into map at right, and two small holes and a tear that extends 3" east of South America with a minor amount of image expertly replaced in facsimile.

Estimate: $1,600 - $1,900

Sold for: $1,100

Closed on 6/9/2021