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L'Atlas curieux ou le monde represente dans des cartes generales et particulieres du ciel et de la terre.

DE FER, Nicolas (1646-1720).

Published by Paris: chez l'auteur, 1700-[1704]., 1704
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Parts 1 to 5 (of 6) bound in one volume, oblong folio (11 6/8 x 17 4/8 inches). Engraved title-page heightened in red, engraved sectional title, 154 engraved maps, plans and views (only, see below), including 2 additional maps not called for by Pastoureau, one in place of the absent 49, the other a supplementary map accompanying 136 and 137, a few of the maps hand-colored in outline, engraved plate of arms (one map of France defective - Pastoureau 149, lacking Pastoureau 49 as usual, 81 and 82, some repaired tears). Contemporary mottled calf (rebacked preserving the original spine). Provenance: Contemporary manuscript index inscribed on the recto of the front free endpaper. De Fer's "Atlas curieux" was published in parts between 1700 and 1705. The present atlas seems to comprise almost all of the plates from the first five parts, arranged in more or less geographical order. The fifth part was published in 1704, and on this copy the date on the title-page has been changed by hand to that year. Including a general map: "Les Isles Britaniques, ou sont les Royammes d'Angleterre, d'Ecosse et d'Irelande" dated 1701 and a map of "Les Villes de Londres et de Westminster." each accompanied by descriptive text. Of "des Isles Britaniques" de Fer writes of the scarcity of wine and vinyards before commenting on the nature of the peoples: "Les Anglois sont Spirituels, adroits, et courageux, et pour la plus part beaux, et bienfaits". He then goes on to describe their arrogance, aristocratic governance and recent tolerance for new religion. Nicolas de Fer was one of the great map-producers of the 17th century. He became the protégé of Le Grand Dauphin, Louis de France, son of the great Louis XIV in 1689, and when the Duke of Anjou (grandson of Louis XIV) acceded to the throne of Spain, de Fer was proclaimed 'Geographer of the King Spain and of the Dauphin', or again 'Geographer of the Royal children'. De Fer, like the other map-editors encouraged Royal propaganda in his publications, with such headings as "This map that I distribute to the people displays the theatre of your victories." His shop's sign was in fact 'the Royal Globe' an emblem he was very proud of for the image of his armillary sphere can be found in the majority of his publications. While he enjoyed this official support, Nicolas de Fer produced Atlases as numerous as their content was important. His principal quality was to have drawn all his maps according to the new observations and calculations of the Académie des Sciences, and he even solicited for his purposes the Mathematician and Astronomer Ph. De la Hire, himself a member of the Académie des Sciences and Professor at the Collège de France. His father Antoine de Fer had been a modest merchant of engravings and prints and had begun to specialise in map-printing and illuminating from 1646. His productions were third rate, however, and he often reused copper plates produced by other editors. His son, Nicolas, succeeded him with far more success and talent. As a young boy of twelve years old Nicolas was made the apprentice of the engraver Louis Spirinx and inherited his father's modest business in 1687. From then began his illustrious carrier. Three years later he was officially nominated Geographer of the Dauphin, heir to the throne of France. No work signed by him as an engraver has been kept however, for he soon specialised exclusively in map-making. Nicolas de Fer never claimed himself to be a topographer however, but merely a 'vulgariser' of geographical science. Pastoureau Fer I. Bookseller Inventory # 001762

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Bibliographic Details

Title: L'Atlas curieux ou le monde represente dans ...

Publisher: Paris: chez l'auteur, 1700-[1704].

Publication Date: 1704

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

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