Very rare map of Poitou-Charentes with Île de Ré and the French coast with La Rochelle, oriented to the Northwest, with two inset fortification plans: Fort de la Pree and Fort de St Martin, published in 1627 by Melchior Tavernier.
The map shows the Fortifications of Fort de la Pree and Fort St. Martin, along with the topographical features, and fortifications of various other places on Isle de Re and the contiguous French Coastline, during the battle between the English and French in the region. In the eastern part of the island, the areas where the British have landed are shown, with the locations of the King's armies. The blockade of Saint-Martin is also shown.
This 1627 map illustrating the Siege of La Rochelle is one of the most important works engraved and published by Melchior Tavernier. As noted by Sir Hebert George Fordham in Studies Carto-Bibliography, British and French . . . p. 158-59 (Oxford 1914),
If Tavernier had any distinctive style of his own, it must be sought for in the maps he seems actually to have engraved in connection with the military movements during the reign of Louis XIII, maps coarsely drawn, but clear, and without superfluous ornament. These maps of the "set of war" deal with the famous siege of La Rochelle . . .. The earliest examples of this series of maps were engraved in 1625 . . .The titles and dates of what I class as military maps are, as far as they have been traced, as follows:
... 1627. Carte Particuliere des costes de Poittou Aunis, et de la Rochelle et du fort St Louys comme aussy de l'Isle de Ré avec ses forts. [With inset plans of the Fort de la Prée, and the Fort de St. Martin.]
It will be seen that Tavernier's work as an engraver, but principally as a publisher only, extends from at least as early as 1625 till his death, at an advanced age, in 1641. He thus fills the period between Jean Le Clerc (who died in 1621 or 1622), and Sanson, whose greatest activity in map production culminated in the early fifties of the century.
The map formed the basis for an equally rare map of the region published in 1627 By Claes J. Visscher in Amsterdam.
Melchior Tavernier was a member of a large family involved in the publishing trade in Paris in the early years of the seventeenth century. Early in his career, he apparently collaborated with Henricus Hondius, as at least one of his early maps references Tavernier as the seller of a map engraved in Amsterdam, by Hondius. He is probably best known for his publication of a map of the Post Roads of France, which was copied many times until the end of the century. He also issued an atlas under the same title as J. le Clerc's Theatre Geographique, using many of Le Clerc's maps, but incorporating others from different sources. He published composite atlases and also published works for other cartographers, including N. Sanson, N. Tassin, and P. Bertius. He is not to be confused with his nephew of the same name (1594-1665), who also engraved maps for Nicolas Sanson.