First Edition of the Earliest Detailed Pocket Atlas of France
A wonderful collection of 171 maps, plans, and views of France, published by Nicolas Tassin under the auspices of Melchior Tavernier. The atlas is the first of its type to focus on France and includes vast amounts of information detailing the country's geography in the 17th century.
The atlas opens with a dedication to King Louis XIII, before providing a detailed description of the cities and regions shown in the atlas. These are fascinating, enumerating not only geographical information but also discussing history and culture. This section provides many insights into how the various regions were viewed in a geopolitical and historical context at the time of publication.
The maps included are well executed and in the Tassin's distinctive style, which can be easily discerned in the unique way trees, mountains, and other natural features are depicted. The views are equally notable, with immense detail portrayed in some examples. Particularly notable is Tassin's view of Paris, taken from the west.
The work is divided according to region. It includes 43 maps of Picardie, 48 maps of Champagne, 23 maps of Lorraine, 26 maps of Bretagne, 25 maps of Normandie, 16 maps of the Ile-de-France, and 15 maps of Brie. Curiously, the work opens with the maps of Brie, but only displays two before returning to the rest at the end. Each section is heralded by one or more decorative cartouche plates.
A companion volume (not present here, nor called for) was published in 1636, focusing on the regions in the south and west of France, which are neglected in the present volume.
Nicolas Tassin's early career was in service to the King of France as an engineer. He was subsequently appointed 'royal cartographer' and given the right to publish his discoveries for ten years. Tassin first worked in Dijon before setting up as an engraver in Paris where he issued various collections of small maps and plans of France, Switzerland, Germany and Spain. His first publications date to 1633, while his noted Les plans et profils de toutes les principales villes et lieux considérables de France was published a year later. He subsequently updated his early works through the rest of his career, before retiring in 1644 and selling his copperplates to Antoine de Fer.
Nicolas Tassin (fl. 1633-55) was appointed 'royal cartographer' at Dijon before setting up as an engraver in Paris where he issued various collections of small maps and plans of France, Switzerland, Germany and Spain. Tassin first published his maps in his own atlas Cartes Generale de Toutes Les Provinces de France in 1634, with an enlarged second edition in 1637 (France, royaumes et provinces d'Europe).