Striking map of America, showing California as an island, originally published by Nicholas De Fer in 1699, here in the third state of 1717.
This folio-sized map was engraved by Hendrick van Loon for De Fer, following his work on the latter's wall map of the Americas from the previous year.
The look of the present map is very similar to that of the wall map version, and some of the legends are the same.
The map was largely issued separately, and after De Fer's death in 1720, it passed to Guillaume Danet and Jacques-Francois Benard.
The map was closely copied by Paolo Petrini in Naples in 1718, as Petrini was wont to do with De Fer's maps.
States of the Map
There is some debate over the states of this map, with McLaughlin and Burden II disagreeing substantially. Burden appears more authoritative on the matter, however. Furthermore, Leighly (1972, nos. 105 and 161), notes a state with a date of 1727, which Burden dismisses as erroneous. We are inclined to agree, however the present map does not make the issue easy, as there is an annoyingly-placed rust spot over the third digit in the number, making it unclear if it actually was a "1" instead of a "0" or a "2".
Nicholas de Fer (1646-1720) was the son of a map seller, Antoine de Fer, and grew to be one of the most well-known mapmakers in France in the seventeenth century. He was apprenticed at twelve years old to Louis Spirinx, an engraver. When his father died in 1673, Nicholas helped his mother run the business until 1687, when he became the sole proprietor.
His earliest known work is a map of the Canal of Languedoc in 1669, while some of his earliest engravings are in the revised edition of Methode pour Apprendre Facilement la Geographie (1685). In 1697, he published his first world atlas. Perhaps his most famous map is his wall map of America, published in 1698, with its celebrated beaver scene (engraved by Hendrick van Loon, designed by Nicolas Guerard). After his death in 1720, the business passed to his sons-in-law, Guillaume Danet and Jacques-Francois Benard.