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Stock# 94391

Nice example of the first German version of Sanson's world atlas, "Description de Tout l'Univers", published by Johann David Zunner.

The maps in this edition have been re-engraved from Sanson's original quarto versions. The atlas showcases 63 maps spanning all four continents:

Europe (13 maps) highlights: Europe overall, British Isles, Denmark & southern Sweden, Scandinavia, Russia, France, Germany, Low Countries, Poland & Lithuania, Spain & Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Hungary & Balkans region.

Asia (17 maps) includes: The entire continent, Turkey in Asia, Anatolia, Middle East, Caucasus & Caspian areas, Arabia, Persia, a double-feature of Southeast Asia, northern and southern parts of India, China, Tartary, Japan, a combined map of Philippines & Ladrones, East Indies (with detailed insets), Indonesia, and Ceylon & Maldives.

Africa (18 maps) offers views of: The continent as a whole, western Africa, the southern and northern parts of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia & Libya, westward-oriented Egypt, the northern and southern regions of west Africa, Guinea, Ethiopia & Sudan, a dual map of Horn of Africa & Zanzabar coast, Congo, the southernmost part of Africa, Madagascar, Canary Islands, and Malta.

America (15 maps) captures: West Indies, the entire North America, Canada & Northeastern US, a stretch from the Southern US to Texas, the southern and northern parts of Mexico (the latter featuring insular California), Central America, South America, Colombia & Venezuela, Guiana, regions of Peru & Amazonia, Chili, Brazil, La Plata area, and the regions of Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego.

Accompanying each map is a descriptive text of the region. A beautifully crafted frontispiece in the atlas depicts female figures symbolizing the four continents.  


4 parts in 2 volumes, first German edition, additional engraved title with female allegorical figures representing the 4 continents, 63 engraved maps (59 double-page, 5 folding).

RV Tooley noted that the embellishment is "confined to a title cartouche for each map . . . they are very clear and neat, and pleasing to the eye and of handy format".

Nicolas Sanson Biography

Nicholas Sanson (1600-1667) is considered the father of French cartography in its golden age from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. Over the course of his career he produced over 300 maps; they are known for their clean style and extensive research. Sanson was largely responsible for beginning the shift of cartographic production and excellence from Amsterdam to Paris in the later-seventeenth century.

Sanson was born in Abbeville in Picardy. He made his first map at age twenty, a wall map of ancient Gaul. Upon moving to Paris, he gained the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, who made an introduction of Sanson to King Louis XIII. This led to Sanson's tutoring of the king and the granting of the title ingenieur-geographe du roi

His success can be chalked up to his geographic and research skills, but also to his partnership with Pierre Mariette. Early in his career, Sanson worked primarily with the publisher Melchior Tavernier. Mariette purchased Tavernier’s business in 1644. Sanson worked with Mariette until 1657, when the latter died. Mariette’s son, also Pierre, helped to publish the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (1658), Sanson' atlas and the first French world atlas.