Striking map of northern Scandinavia engraved by Henri Liébaux for the French cartographer Guillaume De l'Isle.
States and Editions
The first state of the map was issued in 1706 and featured both De l'Isle's imprint and that of Amsterdam printer Louis Renard. However, the partnership between De l'Isle and Renard was short-lived, and a second state of the map was subsequently issued with the date intact but Renard's imprint burnished out.
Interestingly, a newly-engraved Amsterdam edition of the map was printed by Pieter Schenk in 1708, which appears to explain the removal of Renard from the picture. This suggests that Schenk may have taken over the publication of the map from Renard following the dissolution of his partnership with De l'Isle. Despite these changes, the map remained a popular and important representation of the region of Scandinavia during the early 18th century, as evidenced by later reprints by De l'Isle's heirs and other publishers.
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.