The First Modern Mapping of the Caspian Sea
Nice example of De L'Isle's map of the Caspian Sea, based upon surveys of Van Verden and S. I Soimonov. It is the first printed map of the Caspian Sea based upon actual survey work
Two interesting and richly detailed marine charts showing the Caspian sea and its tributary rivers and surrounding lands.
In 1721 Peter presented the Paris Academie Royale des Sciences with a copy of S. I. Soimonov and Carl Vanverden's map of the Caspian region. De L'sle utilized this work to create a French edition of the map, which was first published by the Academy.
He also included the map in his Atlas. In this way, the exact outline of the Caspian Sea, drawn on the Russian map of 1720, first appeared in a map prepared in western Europe, but was later re-issued by De L'Isle in this format.
The map proper is surrounded by eight inset maps detail various gulfs, bays, ports, and rivers. The upper sheet has two large cartouches, the left bearing the title and dedication to Van Verden and the right a description of the map.
Guillaume De L'Isle (1675-1726) is probably the greatest figure in French cartography. Having learned geography from his father Claude, by the age of eight or nine he could draw maps to demonstrate ancient history. He studied mathematics and astronomy under Cassini, from whom he received a superb grounding in scientific cartography—the hallmark of his work. His first atlas was published in ca. 1700. In 1702 he was elected a member of the Academie Royale des Sciences and in 1718 he became Premier Geographe du Roi.
De L'Isle's work was important as marking a transition from the maps of the Dutch school, which were highly decorative and artistically-orientated, to a more scientific approach. He reduced the importance given to the decorative elements in maps, and emphasized the scientific base on which they were constructed. His maps of the newly explored parts of the world reflect the most up-to-date information available and did not contain fanciful detail in the absence of solid information. It can be fairly said that he was truly the father of the modern school of cartography at the commercial level.
De L’Isle also played a prominent part in the recalculation of latitude and longitude, based on the most recent celestial observations. His major contribution was in collating and incorporating this latitudinal and longitudinal information in his maps, setting a new standard of accuracy, quickly followed by many of his contemporaries. Guillaume De L’Isle’s work was widely copied by other mapmakers of the period, including Chatelain, Covens & Mortier, and Albrizzi.