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A large wall map of Asia by Nicolas de Fer (1647-1720)


L’Asie divisée selon letendu de ses principales parties, et dont les points principaux sont placez sur les observation des Monsieurs de l’Academie Royale des Sciences. Dressée par N. De Fer, Geographe de monsieur de Dauphin. A Paris chez l’auteur dans l’Isle du Palais, fur le Quay de l’Horloge, à la Sphere Royal. Avec le Privilege du Roy, 1696


Engraved by Hendrik van Loon after a design by Nicolas de Fer, printed on four copperplates, and published by Guillaume Danet, Paris 1724, with later hand- colouring.

H. 92.5 x W. 117 cm
H. 112.5 x W. 139 cm (including frame)

The map is surrounded by richly decorated borders, depicting the peoples of Asia, the Chinese, Japanese, Turks, Indians, Tartars (Russians), Filipinos, inhabitants of the Maluku and Sunda islands, Sri Lankans, people of Colgonda, Malaysia, Thailand, Cochin and Tonkin. Some detail maps show

Arctic areas, with Spitsbergen, Nova Zembla and the northeast of China based on the writings of the Jesuits Martino Martini and Ferdinand Verbiest. Nicolas de Fer started his apprenticeship at the age of twelve in the map-making business of his father, Antoine de Fer (act. 1644-1672). After his father’s death his mother continued the business and after her retirement, Nicolas took over in 1687. He turned it into a flourishing business and thanks to his contacts with the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris he was
able to use the latest discoveries in geography and subscribe his maps with ‘Dressée sur les nouvelle observations des Messieurs de l’Académie Royale des Sciences.’ In 1690 he became the official cartographer of the Dauphin and later King of France and Spain. He published more than six hundred maps and many atlases, documenting French fortified towns, strongholds and the explorations and discoveries of new territories. Unlike most Dutch cartographers who mainly made maps for navigational purposes, Nicolas de Fer, in the French decorative style of cartography, made a total of 26 large wall maps to adorn the walls in the palaces and castles of the French royals and aristocracy.