A double-hemisphere world map after the great French cartographer Guillaume de L’Isle, with four inset maps in the corners — two polar maps and two showing views of the world centered on Paris and its antipodes — and an elaborate cartouche at the top decorated with figures representing four continents. De L’Isle’s map was originally published in 1700 and then revised and republished throughout the 18th century by de L’Isle and by subsequent map publishers. Dutch publishers Covens & Mortier’s first version of de L’Isle’s map was produced in 1720 adding the seascape with boats on the horizon at the bottom decorated with a second cartouche in the shape of a sea monster with a mermaid, merman and dolphins. They issued a later edition of that map (shown here) in about1745 with the additional subtitle “Newly corrected after the latest Discoveries made by the Academy of St. Petersburg.” The map is mounted in a gold-leaf frame.
Interesting geographical features include California as a peninsula, and tracks of many explorers from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The 1745 edition adds considerable detail to the eastern part of Siberia and the northwest coast of North America. It also shows Japan correctly as an island, instead of attached to the mainland. Other changes from the 1720 Covens and Mortier map include the addition of Cape Circoncision on the edge of the subantarctic Bouvet Island, which as the map notes, was discovered in 1739.
Guillaume de L’ Isle, appointed Royal Geographer in 1718, was the leading French cartographer of the early 18th century, and certainly among the most influential. He was known for his prolific output — over 100 maps — and his exceptional accuracy. From his first atlas, published at age 25, De L’Isle made an effort, unprecedented in his era, to base his work on verifiable, current data and to correct prevalent fallacies, such as the depiction of California as an island. His maps and atlases were frequently reissued after his death by Philippe Buache, Phillippe’s nephew Jean Nicolas Buache, and J.A. Dezauche. The Amsterdam publishers Covens and Mortier also reissued de L’Isle maps. De L’Isle maps also served as inspiration for derivatives by various other cartographers including Jeremias Wolff and Matthäus Seutter.
Covens and Mortier was an Amsterdam firm formed in 1721 by Johannes Covens in partnership with the heirs of Pierre Mortier. Mortier, a Frenchman, had established a publishing house in Amsterdam by around 1685 and published or reissued maps by some of the great French and Dutch mapmakers of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, including Guillaume de L’Isle, Carel Allard and Jan Jansson. After Mortier’s death in 1711, the family continued the business and then joined with Covens. Covens and Mortier issued several atlases, including its major work Atlas Nouveau, published in nine folio volumes between 1711 and 1760. The firm also issued world and continent maps.
Subtitle: Nouvellement corrigée après les dernieres Decouvertes faite par l’Academie de Petersbourgh [Newly corrected after the latest Discoveries made by the Academy of St. Petersburg].
Dedication above cartouche: Nova Orbis Tabula ad usum serenissimi Burgundie Ducis
Full publication information: Se Vend a Amsterdam chez Jean Covens et Corneille Mortier Avec Privilege [Sold in Amsterdam by Jean Covens and Corneille Mortier with Privileges].
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, soft creases. Original color apparently enhanced by a later addition to the blue background color, although this addition was evidently done at least a few decades ago. Few chips in margins restored professionally restored including addition of ruled lined border in manuscript in small section upper right.
“Mappe-Monde Dresée [sic] sur les Observations…” Huntington Digital Library. http://hdl.huntington.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15150coll4/id/133/ (22 February 2013).
“Mappe-Monde Dressé sur les Observations…” Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps. http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/27050/MappeMonde_Dresse_sur_les_Observations_de_Mrs_de_lAcademie_Royale_des/Covens-Mortier.html (22 February 2013).
“Mappe-Monde dressée sur les Observations…” Bibliotheque Nationale de France. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b7710408j (22 February 2013).
Shirley, Rodney W. The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700. London: Holland Press, 1983. Item 603, plate 416.