About the artwork
ONE OF THE EARLIEST MAPS TO DEPICT ALL 5 GREAT LAKES – Amerique Septentrionale
All of North America, with California, depicted as an island. Engraved by Pierre Mariette, published by Nicolas Sanson in 1659. The first map to name Lakes Superior and Ontario. Burden calls this a “landmark map of North America. It was drawn, with his usual care, using the sinusoidal projection which is sometimes known by the name Sanson-Flamstead.
It is, perhaps, most important for being the first printed map to delineate the five Great Lakes in a recognizable form… To the west, S Fe, Navajo, Apache, Taosij and others all appear for the first time. The first is incorrectly placed on the west bank of the Rio Grande, here again flowing to the south-west. These were the first advances in the geography of this region for some time. The information was derived from the travels of Father Alonso de Benavides in the late 1620’s…
California as an island is of the Briggs type with some important alterations; Sanson introduces four placenames from the de Laet map of 1630, C. de Fortune, C. de Pinos, C. de S.Martin and C. de Galera…” There were three states of the map, of which this is the third. The first state, of which only two examples were known, had no land to the north-west of California; the second state, also quite uncommon, added coastline at that point, and eliminated a few placenames north of California; the third state is the same as the second, except that Lake Ontario has been shaded to match the other Great Lakes.
Size: 39,8 x 57 cm.
Literature: Philip Burden, The Mapping of North America (1996), nr. 294
About the Artist
Nicolas Sanson was born on the 20th of December in 1600 in Abbeville, France.
He was a French cartographer, termed by some the creator of French geography, in which he's been called the "father of French cartography."
Sanson was born of an old Picardy family of Scottish descent. He was educated by the Jesuits at Amiens.
In 1627 he attracted the attention of Richelieu by a map of Gaul which he had constructed (or at least begun) while only eighteen. Sanson was royal geographer
He gave lessons in geography both to Louis XIII and to Louis XIV; and when Louis XIII, it is said, came to Abbeville, he preferred to be the guest of Sanson (then employed on the fortifications), instead of occupying the lodgings provided by the town. At the conclusion of this visit the king made Sanson a councillor of state.
Sanson issued his first map of importance, the "Postes de France", which was published by Melchior Tavernier in 1632. After publishing several general atlases himself he became the associate of Pierre Mariette, a publisher of prints.
In 1647 Sanson accused the Jesuit Philippe Labbe of plagiarizing him in his Pharus Galliae Antiquae; in 1648 he lost his eldest son Nicolas, killed during the Fronde. Among the friends of his later years was the great Condé.
His two younger sons Adrien (d. 1708) and Guillaume (d. 1703), succeeded him as geographers to the king.
He died in Paris on 7 July 1667.