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Description

Striking old color example of Nolin's map of South America.

The map is richly embellished with decorative cartouche and vignettes and includes extensive annotations regarding the discovery and explorations in the region, along with the tracks of Jacquest Le Maire's ship throgh the region. In the right box, the is a lengthy annotation concerning the Papal Bull which established the Line of Demarcation, which split Brazil from the rest of South America, leaving Brazil to the Portugese and the rest of the continent to the Spanish.

The map provides one of the most up to dates treatments of South America, from information compiled by Coronelli and Nolin in Paris.

Fine example of Nolin's map, compiled and engraved in Paris in collaboration with Vincenzo Maria Coronelli, who was then working in Paris on grand Celestial and Terrestial Globe for the King of France. The cartographic content is largely identical to Coronelli's two-sheet map of Europe, which was likely issued shortly after Nolin's map. The map is beautifully engraved and exhibits the detail and fine craftsmanship which is characteristic of Nolin's work. This example, in full original color, is of particular note. The map is quite scarce on the market, especially in such extraordinary color.

Condition Description
Full original color. Minor soiling.
Jean-Baptiste Nolin Biography

Jean-Baptiste Nolin (ca. 1657-1708) was a French engraver who worked at the turn of the eighteenth century. Initially trained by Francois de Poilly, his artistic skills caught the eye of Vincenzo Coronelli when the latter was working in France. Coronelli encouraged the young Nolin to engrave his own maps, which he began to do. 

Whereas Nolin was a skilled engraver, he was not an original geographer. He also had a flair for business, adopting monikers like the Geographer to the Duke of Orelans and Engerver to King XIV. He, like many of his contemporaries, borrowed liberally from existing maps. In Nolin’s case, he depended especially on the works of Coronelli and Jean-Nicholas de Tralage, the Sieur de Tillemon. This practice eventually caught Nolin in one of the largest geography scandals of the eighteenth century.

In 1700, Nolin published a large world map which was seen by Claude Delisle, father of the premier mapmaker of his age, Guillaume Delisle. Claude recognized Nolin’s map as being based in part on his son’s work. Guillaume had been working on a manuscript globe for Louis Boucherat, the chancellor of France, with exclusive information about the shape of California and the mouth of the Mississippi River. This information was printed on Nolin’s map. The court ruled in the Delisles’ favor after six years. Nolin had to stop producing that map, but he continued to make others.

Calling Nolin a plagiarist is unfair, as he was engaged in a practice that practically every geographer adopted at the time. Sources were few and copyright laws weak or nonexistent. Nolin’s maps are engraved with considerable skill and are aesthetically engaging.

Nolin’s son, also Jean-Baptiste (1686-1762), continued his father’s business.