Rare first state of De Fer's early map of Quebec, illustrating Sir William Phips' attack on Quebec in 1690.
Following his success at Port Royal, Phips assembled a fleet in Boston for an expedition agains the Canadian stronghold in Quebec. The operation proved to be disastrous, as Phips under-equipped armada encountered much stronger defenses at Quebec. The map provides a great view of the battle lines of the fleet and details of the French defenses, based on manuscripts recorded by Villeneuve. First state, engraved by Herman van Loon. The second state is significantly altered.
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.