Decorative full color example of the 1766 Desnos edition of De Fer's model of the World.
Large double hemisphere map of the World, showing California as an Island. Decorated with three armillary spheres, a crest and long descriptive notes at top. The hemispheres contain numerous notes and comments. This edition was issued by Charles Louis Desnos, who sucessor to the Nicolas De Fer's business, following the death of De Fer's son-in-law, Guillaume De L'Isle.
The map is rare on the market. AMPR notes 2 prior examples, a 1705 De Fer edition (Loeb-Larocque Auction, 2005) and Kit S. Kapp (1994).
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.