Nice old color example the Nolin-Coronelli map of Canada & the Northeastern United States, extending south to the Carolinas, one of the most important and up to date French Colonial maps of the period.
The Nolin-Coronelli map was issued at an important time in the development of the French Colonies in North America. The population and reach of the French Colonies had grown significantly in the prior decades, creating a demand for a map of the region in France. Coronelli undertook a detailed study of the region, producing this remarkably detailed and up to date map. The treatment of Labrador incorporates the manuscript map of Franquelin (1681) and Hennepin's map (1683). The Grand Banks are drawn from the map of G.B. du Bocage (1678). The English Possession of New York is noted, along with Iarsey and Pensylvanie, although the colony of Nouvelle Suede is a holdover from earlier times.
New England is shown with an extra Peninsula in the south, similar to the one on Coronelli's map of North America issued in 1688. The regions controlled by England reflect familiarity with the most up to date English maps, including an updated treatment of the Chesapeake. The map is also of interest for the different names for Cape Cod given.
While the map is a composite of many maps, Kershaw noted that it was "probably the best 17th century representation of eastern Canada and the eastern seaboard of America." The present example is the third edition, the first to properly credit the work of Sieur Tillemon and with additional annotations and place names not found in the first edition, including the legend to the left of the cartouche identifying a number of French Forts and Islands and annotations at the bottom discussing the English possessions in the New World, the Dutch discovery of New Amsterdam, etc. Boston is also correctly named in this edition, as are Kenebeck town and river. Many other interesting early annotations throughout.
The present example of the map is state 3 of 4. The states can be identified as follows:
- First State (1689): Nolin's Address is le Quay de l'Horologe du Palais, prochue la Rue de Harlay . . .
- Second State (circa 1690): Nolin's Address is le Quay de l'Horologe du Palais, prochue le Pont Neuf . . .
- Third State (circa 1690): Dediee removed. "Corrigee et augmentee Par le Sr. Tillemon et Dediee" added.
- Fourth State (1704): Date changed to 1704.
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (1650-1718) was one of the most influential Italian mapmakers and was known especially for his globes and atlases. The son of a tailor, Vincenzo was apprenticed to a xylographer (a wood block engraver) at a young age. At fifteen he became a novice in a Franciscan monastery. At sixteen he published his first book, the first of 140 publications he would write in his lifetime. The order recognized his intellectual ability and saw him educated in Venice and Rome. He earned a doctorate in theology, but also studied astronomy. By the late 1670s, he was working on geography and was commissioned to create a set of globes for the Duke of Parma. These globes were five feet in diameter. The Parma globes led to Coronelli being named theologian to the Duke and receiving a bigger commission, this one from Louis XIV of France. Coronelli moved to Paris for two years to construct the King’s huge globes, which are 12.5 feet in diameter and weigh 2 tons.
The globes for the French King led to a craze for Coronelli’s work and he traveled Europe making globes for the ultra-elite. By 1705, he had returned to Venice. There, he founded the first geographical society, the Accademia Cosmografica degli Argonauti and was named Cosmographer of the Republic of Venice. He died in 1718.
Jean-Baptiste Nolin (ca. 1657-1708) was a French engraver who worked at the turn of the eighteenth century. Initially trained by Francois de Poilly, his artistic skills caught the eye of Vincenzo Coronelli when the latter was working in France. Coronelli encouraged the young Nolin to engrave his own maps, which he began to do.
Whereas Nolin was a skilled engraver, he was not an original geographer. He also had a flair for business, adopting monikers like the Geographer to the Duke of Orelans and Engerver to King XIV. He, like many of his contemporaries, borrowed liberally from existing maps. In Nolin’s case, he depended especially on the works of Coronelli and Jean-Nicholas de Tralage, the Sieur de Tillemon. This practice eventually caught Nolin in one of the largest geography scandals of the eighteenth century.
In 1700, Nolin published a large world map which was seen by Claude Delisle, father of the premier mapmaker of his age, Guillaume Delisle. Claude recognized Nolin’s map as being based in part on his son’s work. Guillaume had been working on a manuscript globe for Louis Boucherat, the chancellor of France, with exclusive information about the shape of California and the mouth of the Mississippi River. This information was printed on Nolin’s map. The court ruled in the Delisles’ favor after six years. Nolin had to stop producing that map, but he continued to make others.
Calling Nolin a plagiarist is unfair, as he was engaged in a practice that practically every geographer adopted at the time. Sources were few and copyright laws weak or nonexistent. Nolin’s maps are engraved with considerable skill and are aesthetically engaging.
Nolin’s son, also Jean-Baptiste (1686-1762), continued his father’s business.