Rare Early French World Map
Rare double hemisphere map of the world. One of two maps of the world engraved by Jodocus Hondius for the Parisian publisher Jean Le Clerc in 1602.
The map is most noteworthy for its identification of Sir Francis Drake's hypothesis of an island (Tierra Del Fuego) off the coast of South America, 15 years before its actual discovery. All other maps of the period showed the straits of Magellan as the only navigable watercourse from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with a massive southern continent below the Strait. The path around the Horn was critical to European powers eager to circumvent Dutch claims of control over the Strait and therefore access from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Hondius also includes the islands of Queen Elizabeth off the tip of South America and notes that Nova Albion on the far west of cost of North America was so named by the English in 1580.
A panel at the bottom contains a quote from the Psalms which was one of Hondius' favorites. The upper corners include circles showing the wind names in Italian and Dutch. The lower corners have circular diagrams showing the phases of the moon and the climatic zones. An astronomical sphere and compass rose are also included. Wonderful large unknown southern continent, narrow passage between South America and the unknown continent, excellent treatment of Japan and Southeast Asia and marvelous early cartography in the Pacific Ocean and along the NW Coast of America.
Shirley notes that examples of the map bearing the original 1602 date are very rare. One of the earliest obtainable world maps published in Paris.
Jean Le Clerc was an engraver, bookseller and publisher in Paris and Tours.
Le Clerc was baptized on August 16, 1560 in Paris, with the engraver François Desprez (1530–1587) and the painter Jérôme Bollery (1532–1592) as his godfathers. He came from a family of printers and publishers - Jean's younger brother David Le Clerc (1561–1613) and Jean's own son Jean Le Clerc V were both book printers and publishers.
He had proved himself by 1587, at which date he was living and working on Rue Chartière in Paris. For religous reasons, as a Huguenot he fled Paris in 1588 and spent a year elsewhere in France. From 1590 to 1594 he took refuge in Tours, where he worked with the publisher and cartographer Maurice Bouguereau (15??–1596), who created Le Theatre Francoys, the first atlas of France. Le Clerc later worked at several different addresses in Paris - on Rue Saint-Jean-de-Latran until 1610 and then on Rue Saint-Jacques until 1621/24.
Jean Le Clerc's publications included portraits, maps, contemporary news events and other engravings by Jacques Granthomme (1560–1613), Pierre Firens (1580–1636) and Léonard Gaultier (1561–1635). He collaborated with the Dutch printmaker Thomas de Leu (1560–1612) to produce a collection of 179 biblical scenes, allegories, calendar pages and other works, probably published in 1606. They both produced engravings for it themselves as well as using works by Justus Sadeler (1580–1620), Isaac Briot (1585–1670) and Nicolas Briot (1579–1646).
On December 20, 1619 Le Clerc was granted a six-year royal concession to "engrave maps of the provinces of France and portraits of patriarchs and princes of the Hebrew people, with a chronological history". In 1620 he published his Le Théâtre géographique du Royaume de France, including newer plates as well as reworked plates from Bouguereau's work. The new plates were produced by artists such as Jean Fayen (1530–1616), Jodocus Hondius (1563–1612), Salomon Rogiers (1592–1640) and Hugues Picart (1587–1664). It went through several editions and Jean Le Clerc V continued to reissue it after his father's death.