Nicolas Sanson's double-page engraved map of northern England, focusing on Northumberland. This map was published in Paris in 1658 by Nicolas Sanson, one of the most prolific French mapmakers of the 17th century.
The map features an impressive cartouche of horses and putti. Detail is finely engraved, showing hills, forests, cities, towns, and more. Cascades and non-navigable parts in rivers are shown.
The map shows the Kingdom of Northumberland during the period immediately following the Heptarchy, around the 9th century. During this period, the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wales and England had been consolidated into four surviving kingdoms. The Kingdom of Mercia, the most powerful at the time, can be seen in the south of the map.
Nicholas Sanson (1600-1667) is considered the father of French cartography in its golden age from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. Over the course of his career he produced over 300 maps; they are known for their clean style and extensive research. Sanson was largely responsible for beginning the shift of cartographic production and excellence from Amsterdam to Paris in the later-seventeenth century.
Sanson was born in Abbeville in Picardy. He made his first map at age twenty, a wall map of ancient Gaul. Upon moving to Paris, he gained the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, who made an introduction of Sanson to King Louis XIII. This led to Sanson's tutoring of the king and the granting of the title ingenieur-geographe du roi.
His success can be chalked up to his geographic and research skills, but also to his partnership with Pierre Mariette. Early in his career, Sanson worked primarily with the publisher Melchior Tavernier. Mariette purchased Tavernier’s business in 1644. Sanson worked with Mariette until 1657, when the latter died. Mariette’s son, also Pierre, helped to publish the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (1658), Sanson' atlas and the first French world atlas.