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Rare original color example of Jean Le Clerc's map of Retelois. This map first appeared in Le Clerc's very rare Theatre du Royame de France, while this edition was issued by De la Pointe.

The map focuses on the Ardennes region, stretching from Charleville-Mezieres and Sedan in the north to the edge of the Champagne region in the south. The map is attractively designed, with forests and mountains shown pictorially, red highlighting on major cities, and other fine detail. The map is dedicated to Francois de Gonzague, at the time Duke of Rethellois (area shown on the map) and a Lieutenant General for the King in Champagne.

Le Clerc's Theatre sought to complete the project started by Maurice Bougeaurou in his LTheatre Francoys, considered to be the first national atlas of France. However, Bougeaurou's work was spatially incomplete, as he was unable to get data from large parts of the country. Le Clerc here worked with the surveyor Henri Picart to produce the present map. Since Le Clerc and Bougeaurou used earlier material whenever possible, this means that the present map is likely the earliest detailed work on the region shown.


This map can be differentiated from the previous Le Clerc edition by the imprint data in the frame at the upper-left.

Condition Description
Scant original hand-color in outline.
Jean Le Clerc Biography
Jean Le Clerc

Jean Le Clerc was an engraver, bookseller and publisher in Paris and Tours. Le Clerc may have worked with Maurice Bouguereau in the production of the Theatre Francois in 1594, as he subsequently used the plates to republish the Atlas in 1620 under the title Theatre Geographique du Royaume de France. In addition to the maps of France, the atlas included a World Map, originally engraved by Jodocus Hondius in 1608 copied from Mercator's twin hemisphere map of 1595. He also issued in 1602 maps of Africa, America, Asia and Europe, engraved by Jodocus Hondius. The map of America, which is dated 1589, but unknown in any editions earlier than the one issued by Le Clerc in 1602, is a map of considerable rarity, which some believe may pre-date Ortelius’ Maris Pacifici as the first printed map to focus on the Pacific Ocean.