Extremely rare 4 sheet map of the world, engraved by Hendrik van Loon, with decorative embellishments designed and engraved by Nicolaus Guerard. The coastlines of Australia, Papua, New Guinea, Japan and other uncharted areas have their coastlines faintly shaded. In the interior of Africa, De Fer records imaginary rivers and mountain ranges shown by his predecessors. One of the Nile Tributaries is shown correctly coming from Lake Tana, but the other finds its source in the Sahara. De Fer states along the equator that it is better to leave this space blank rather than fill it with unknown and imaginary particulars. Along the top are pictures of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury, based upon Cassini and two plans of the sun and moon. An large tablaeu displays gods and godesses, zodiac figures, winds and mythological scenes. The lower part of the map deicts mankind in all his activities. There are 2 known copies of the 1694 map in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris and one in Karlsruhe. Shirley was unable to locate any examples in British or American institutional collections, and gave the map an RRR, the highest level of rarity. Re-issues of the map as late as 1737 are known to exist. The present example is dated 1694 in the map, but includes a 1698 privilege in the text panels. The map has been restored and laid on fresh linen, but is in remarkably good condition for 17th Century Wall Map. A complete condition description is available on request.
Nicholas de Fer (1646-1720) was the son of a map seller, Antoine de Fer, and grew to be one of the most well-known mapmakers in France in the seventeenth century. He was apprenticed at twelve years old to Louis Spirinx, an engraver. When his father died in 1673, Nicholas helped his mother run the business until 1687, when he became the sole proprietor.
His earliest known work is a map of the Canal of Languedoc in 1669, while some of his earliest engravings are in the revised edition of Methode pour Apprendre Facilement la Geographie (1685). In 1697, he published his first world atlas. Perhaps his most famous map is his wall map of America, published in 1698, with its celebrated beaver scene (engraved by Hendrick van Loon, designed by Nicolas Guerard). After his death in 1720, the business passed to his sons-in-law, Guillaume Danet and Jacques-Francois Benard.