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Description

An interesting and very unusual map of all of Asia from Nicholas de Fer's L'Atlas Curieux ou le Monde. This example is the third state, dated 1717.

The map is based primarily on Dutch sources, particularly the outlines of Siberia and the East Indies. However, the most striking feature, which is original to De Fer, is a continuous landbridge extending from northern Korea and eastern Siberia across to America. A note acknowledges Portuguese sources for this new portrayal of the region. Hokkaido (Ieso) appears as a small circular island north of Japan. The northern coastline of Asia is based on Witsen's explorations including Cap Tabin and Cap Glace. The interior is filled with details, including what appears to be a road from Moscow to Peking, and the Great Wall of China. The Caspian Sea is presented in an unusual shape. India is misshapen and the coastline of a portion of New Guinea is incorrectly named as "Nouvelle Zeelande."

Nicholas de Fer (1646-1720) was the youngest son of Parisian print and map seller, Antoine de Fer [d.1673]. He became an official geographer to both French and Spanish kings. Nicholas de Fer was one of the most prolific and influential French geographers and cartographers of the late 17th and early 18th Century.

Nicolas de Fer Biography

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.