Nicolas Sanson

Nicolas Sanson

Nicholas Sanson (1600-1667) is considered the father of French cartography in its golden age from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. Over the course of his career he produced over 300 maps; they are known for their clean style and extensive research. Sanson was largely responsible for beginning the shift of cartographic production and excellence from Amsterdam to Paris in the later-seventeenth century.

Sanson was born in Abbeville in Picardy. He made his first map at age twenty, a wall map of ancient Gaul. Upon moving to Paris, he gained the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, who made an introduction of Sanson to King Louis XIII. This led to Sanson's tutoring of the king and the granting of the title ingenieur-geographe du roi.

His success can be chalked up to his geographic and research skills, but also to his partnership with Pierre Mariette. Early in his career, Sanson worked primarily with the publisher Melchior Tavernier. Mariette purchased Tavernier’s business in 1644. Sanson worked with Mariette until 1657, when the latter died. Mariette’s son, also Pierre, helped to publish the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (1658), Sanson' atlas and the first French world atlas.


1662 - L'Afrique en Plusieurs Cartes Nouvelles, et Exactes; &. En Divers Traictes de Geographie, et D'Histoire.

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A beautiful example of the second edition of Sanson's atlas of Africa, one of the best atlases dedicated to the continent from the 17th century. The first edition of this atlas was published in 1656 as the third volume in Sanson's series of four...


1683 - L'Europe en Plusierus Cartes Nouvelles et Exactes [bound with] L'Asie en Plusieurs Cartes Nouvelles et Exactes [and] L'Afrique en Plusieurs Cartes Nouvelles et Exactses [and] L'Amerique en Plusieurs Nouvelles et Exactes

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All Maps in Original Outline Hand-Color. A handsome example of the 1683 Dutch pirated edition of Nicholas Sanson's four continental atlases, of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. These are the books with which Nicholas Sanson started his career...


1651 - Mappe-Monde, ou Carte Generale Du Monde; Dessignee en deux plan-Hemispheres par le Sr. Sanson d'Abbeville, Geographe Ordinaire de la Majeste . . . 1651

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First State of Nicolas Sanson's First Map of the World First state of Sanson's first map of the World, published by the single most important French mapmaker of the 17th Century, whose modernistic approach to cartography would redefine commercial...


1652 - L'Hydrographie ou Descriprion de L'Eau c'est a dire des Mers, Golfes, Lacs, Destroits, et Rivieres principales, qui font dans la Surface du Globe Terrestre

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One of the earliest of Sanson's world maps and one of the earliest obtainable maps to show the five Great Lakes. The map is based upon Sanson's 1651 map of the world (Shirley 390), but with more prominence given to marine and river features. California...


1659 - Harmonie ou Correspondance du Globe avecq la Sphere par les Points, Lignes, Cercles &c. qui se Descrivent en la Surface des Globes Terrestres . . .

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Nicolas Sanson's 1659 double-page engraved map of the world, featuring particular emphasis on latitudes, zones (e.g., "Zone Toride"), and meridians. While the main focus of the map is not detailed topography or toponyms, it includes some noteworthy...


1679 - Les deux poles arctique ou septentrional, et Antarctique ou meridional, ou description des terres arctiques et antarctiques, et des pays circomvoisins jusques aux 45 degres de latitude . . . 1679

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Sanson's Map of the Poles, the First Dual Polar Projection Fine old color example of this fascinating map of the Polar Regions, extending from the poles to 45 degrees latitude, first published by Sanson in 1657. Sanson is widely considered as the...


1654 - Partie Meridionale De L'Inde En deux Presqu'Isles l'une deca et l'autre Gange . . .1654

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Nice example of this important early map of India and Southeast Asia from Pierre Du Val, the main rival to Nicolas Sanson among French mapmakers of the 17th century. First published in 1654 and issued separately, then included in Sanson's Atlas Les...


1656 - Le Canada ou Nouvelle France &c. Ce qui set les plus advance vers le Septenrion est tier de dives Relations des Anglois, Danois &c. . . . 1656

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The First Map to Name Lake Erie—A Landmark Map for the Cartography of the Great Lakes and Canada Fine example of Sanson’s seminal map of Canada and the Great Lakes, one of the most important maps of North America from the period of French...


1679 - Canada, sive Nova Francia &c.

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First state of the Frankfurt edition of Nicolas Sanson's map of Canada and the Great Lakes (first issued in Paris in 1657), which would influence regional cartography for the next 100 years. Along with Sanson's larger map issued in 1656, this map...


1656 - Mexicque, ou Nouvelle Espagne, Nou.lle Gallice, Iucatan &c. et autres Provinces jusques a L'Isthme de Panama . . .1656

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Fine example of Nicolas Sanson's double-page engraved map of Mexico and Central America south to the Gulf of Panama. The map also includes a nice treatment of Southern Florida, including Bahia de Tamap, Bahia De Carlos, B. de Juaon Ponta, Cabo de...


1657 - La Floride . . . 1657

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First Edition of Sanson's Map of Florida and the Southern parts of North America Striking example of Sanson's important early map of Florida and the Southeast, illustrating a number of early and important cartographic features. The first atlas map...


1650 - Amerique Septentrionale . . . 1650

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One of the Most Influential American Maps of the 17th Century. Nice old color example of Sanson's landmark map of North America. One of the most influential American maps of the 17th Century Sanson is regarded as the founder of the 'French School' of...


1689 - Amerique Septentrionale Divisee en Ses Principales Parties . . .

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Striking map of North America, published in 1689 by Jaillot. A scarce map of California as an Island, which derives from Sanson's earlier maps of North America. The Great Lakes are shown as open ended. Florida and the Southeast have not yet been...


1657 - Destroit De Magellan, Terre et Isles Magellaniques, &c . . .

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Fine example of Sanson's early regional map of the southern tip of South America, from P. de las Baixas and Port Desire in the east and the southern portion of Chile in the west, showing Magellanica in remarkable detail, including Staten land, Destroit...


1663 - Paraguay Verdeelt in zyn voornaamste deelen Volgens de laatste reisbeschryvinge . . .

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Antique Map of the Rio de La Plata Basin Early Dutch edition of this detailed early map of the Rio de la Plata Region, showing Buenos Aires, the source of the Rio de la Plata and Paraguay Rivers and extending west to Chile and Peru. Many major cities...


1656 - Terre Ferme ou sont les Governations, ou Gouvernemens de Terre Ferme, Cartagene, Ste. Marthe, Rio de la Hache, Venezuela, Nouvelle Andalusie, Popayan, Nouveau Royme. de Grenade, &c. . . . 1656

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Antique Map of Colombia and Venezuela, etc., Extending To The Famed City of El Dorado Important early map of Columbia and Venezuela, from the most important French map maker of the 17th Century. The map shows the course of the Rio de Paria or...