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Stock# 90475

With Fine Original Hand-Color.

Rare 1655 set of two atlases, in one volume, covering world geography and published by the early French cartographer Nicolas Berey.

This atlas represents the passing of the mantle of the Nicolas Tassin publishing legacy to Berey. The first part, composed of seventeen maps, composes a world atlas issued by Berey as early as c. 1651. These maps are engraved by both Tassin and Hugues Picart, who signed the world map. The second part represents a reissue of an earlier Tassin atlas and focuses on the provinces of France and Spain.

Pastoureau says of the Cartes générale de la Géographie Royalle that it:

is a small atlas of Europe in the tradition of the Atlas Minor. We have not found an edition of this atlas prior to 1651, the date on which Tassin had already ceased all trade in geographical maps. It is possible, in our opinion, that the initiative for its publication came from Nicolas Berey, because the world map, which also gave its title to the atlas, bears his excudit. Apart from the map of France which is really that of Tassin, the plates of the collection are of homogeneous invoice and can be attributed to H. Picart who signed the world map. The style of this geographer-engraver is comparable to that of Nicolas Picart (is it a question of father and son?) who copied, in 1657, the Treasure of Geographical Maps by Boisseau. The maps of this last atlas are however different from those of the Royal Geography.

Regarding the Cartes generalles de toutes les Provinces de France et d'Espaigne, he says that it:

consists of regional maps of various scales that Tassin published simultaneously in 1633 by M. Gobert, J. Messager, M. van Lochom, M. Tavernier and S. Cramoisy. The sources of Tassin are unknown to us. He certainly used for Spain a Spanish work because he left the titles of the maps in this language. For France, he probably had access to special maps of engineers, several of which had already been published by Tavernier: this was the case of the islands of Ré and Oléron, which Tassin treats here on a large scale, and of the map of the Cévennes n° 50, where Father de Dainville saw the reduction of the map of the engineer Fabre published by Tavernier in 1629 (Ancient maps of Languedoc, Montpellier, 1961, p. 33). Nicolas Berey, after acquiring the copperplates for this atlas in 1644, reissued it that same year and in 1648. The map of Brie was sometimes drawn from the copper made especially for this work (we then call it type A) and sometimes from the copper of the Plans and profiles of the towns... of Brie, and we call it type B in this case.

Nicolas Tassin

Nicolas Tassin is well regarded as an early French engraver with a distinct style, which can be recognized on his maps by his portrayal of trees, hydrography, and topographic features. Pastoureau says of the engraver that "Tassin is most renown for his small oblong atlases," and that while most of his works cover his native France, his works covering other parts of Europe are uncommon.

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.


The book bears the early annotation A Sabille (?) aux Mousquetaires. This is repeated on a pastedown in a 19th-century hand which refers to this inscription.

Condition Description
Oblong 8vo. Two books bound in one volume. Contemporary vellum (worn, spine and vellum splitting in several places). Engraved title page ("CARTE GENERALLE / DE LA GEOGRAPHIE ROYALLE..."), 40 pages, 17 engraved maps; engraved title page ("CARTES GENERALLES / de toutes les Provinces de France et d'Espaigne..."), engraved table and 67 engraved maps (labeled 2-68). All maps, title pages and table in original hand-color. (Title page worn, some minor dampstaining, first two sheets nearly loose, and minor marginalia.)
Pastoureau, Les Atlas Francais XVI-XVII Siecles. Tassin IB and IIID.