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Description

Rare 1730 Guillaume Danet edition of Nicolas De Fer's monumental double hemisphere wall map of the World, first published in 1694.

De Fer's map is one of the most decorative wall maps of the World which is reasonably obtainable to a collector. First published in 1694, the map was periodically updated with the newest cartographic discoveries over the next 4 decades. Engraved by Hendrik van Loon, with decorative embellishments designed and engraved by Nicolaus Guerard, the map is one of the most enduring and iconic French wall maps of the World and would have hung in the salons and libraries of the French aristocracy during the Reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV. The map in one of its earliest configurations can be seen here: /gallery/detail/0084

Originally published with California as an island, the present example includes a number of cartographic updates. Among the most interesting revisions to the map from the earliest editions are the additions in Australia and New Zealand. Australia now includes a southern coastline, which is a curious depiction of Van Diemen's land. New Zealand has been relocated about 30 degrees further to the west and a number of place names and a longer coastline are shown.

In NW Asia, there is a mythical arm reaching downward above Japan and Kamchatka, which would appear to foreshadow some of the more curious Russian reports of discoveries in the 1740s.

The others are with major revisions is in North America. California is no longer shown as an island and the NW Coast has been reworked. The map also reflects some of the progress in search of a Northwest Passage.

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. A large tableau displays gods and godesses, zodiac figures, winds and mythological scenes. The lower part of the map depicts 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. Shirley notes editions of 1705, 1717 (text dated 1720), 1730 and 1737. Danet began publishing the map in about 1730. We note only one example of Danet edition of the map on the market in the past 30 years (Librarie Le Bail-Weissert 2003, #510 -- priced at approximately $53,000 USD, noting that it had also been restored).

The present example was acquired from a private seller in France in April 2011 and restored in Rome. There are 3 dates on the map, 1730 in the top title and bottom center title, and 1728 in the text panel, bottom left. This corresponds with an example that Shirley reports to have seen at the Map House in London in 1980.

Condition Description
The map has been cleaned, professionally restored and laid on fresh linen.
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.