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Jean-Baptiste Nolin (ca. 1657-1708) was a French engraver who worked at the turn of the eighteenth century. Initially trained by Francois de Poilly, his artistic skills caught the eye of Vincenzo Coronelli when the latter was working in France. Coronelli encouraged the young Nolin to engrave his own maps, which he began to do. 

Whereas Nolin was a skilled engraver, he was not an original geographer. He also had a flair for business, adopting monikers like the Geographer to the Duke of Orelans and Engerver to King XIV. He, like many of his contemporaries, borrowed liberally from existing maps. In Nolin’s case, he depended especially on the works of Coronelli and Jean-Nicholas de Tralage, the Sieur de Tillemon. This practice eventually caught Nolin in one of the largest geography scandals of the eighteenth century.

In 1700, Nolin published a large world map which was seen by Claude Delisle, father of the premier mapmaker of his age, Guillaume Delisle. Claude recognized Nolin’s map as being based in part on his son’s work. Guillaume had been working on a manuscript globe for Louis Boucherat, the chancellor of France, with exclusive information about the shape of California and the mouth of the Mississippi River. This information was printed on Nolin’s map. The court ruled in the Delisles’ favor after six years. Nolin had to stop producing that map, but he continued to make others.

Calling Nolin a plagiarist is unfair, as he was engaged in a practice that practically every geographer adopted at the time. Sources were few and copyright laws weak or nonexistent. Nolin’s maps are engraved with considerable skill and are aesthetically engaging.

Nolin’s son, also Jean-Baptiste (1686-1762), continued his father’s business.


Archived

Place/Date:
Paris / 1782
Size:
30 x 22 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
20658
Place/Date:
Paris / 1755
Size:
10.5 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
14661
Place/Date:
Paris / 1750
Size:
10.5 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
6213
Place/Date:
Paris / 1749 circa
Size:
22.5 x 19.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
26729
Place/Date:
Paris / 1742
Size:
23.5 x 18.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
64120
Place/Date:
Paris / 1740
Size:
10 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
15351
Place/Date:
Paris / 1740 circa
Size:
10.25 x 8 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
0177gh
Place/Date:
Paris / 1740
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
59382
Place/Date:
Nuremberg / 1736
Size:
23 x 19 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
1003
Place/Date:
Paris / 1720 circa
Size:
11.5 x 8.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
47891
Place/Date:
Paris / 1711
Size:
33 x 22.5 inches (if joined)
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
22428
Place/Date:
Paris / 1710 circa
Size:
32 x 25 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
41341