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.


1641 - Germania antiqua... 1641

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Tavernier and Sanson's rare 1641 double-page engraved map of classical Germany.


1654 - Churfurstenthum, und March Brandeburg. Eslectorat et marqsat de Brandebourg divisé en ses principles marches et parties & c... 1654

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Nicolas Sanson's double-page engraved map of Bradenburg, with Berlin at the center. The map was published in Paris in 1654.


1655 - Bavaria, Baviere ou Sont les Duché, Eslectrat, et Palatnat de Baviere... 1655

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Nicolas Sanson's engraved map of Bavaria, published in Paris in 1655.


1659 - Cercle de Westphalie... 1659

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Nicolas Sanson's engraved map of the Circle of Westphalia, in present-day Germany. The map was published in Paris in 1659.


1657 - Ertz-Hertzogthumb Oesterrich -- Archiduche D'Anstriche Haute, et Basse... 1657

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Nicolas Sanons' double-page engraved map of part of Austria, centered on the course of the Donau River. The map was published in Paris in 1657.


1655 - Estats de la Couronne de Pologne ou sont les Royaume de Pologne, Duchés et Provinces de Russia Cuiasie, Mazonie, Russia Noire, etc. Duchés de Lithuanie, Volhynie Podelie etc,.. . de l'Ukranie etc... 1655

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First state of Nicolas Sanson's 1655 double-page engraved map of Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, including modern-day Lithuania and Estonia. Sanson revised the map a number of times during its 50-year publication history.


1666 - Haute, ou Petite Pologne; ou sont les Palatinats de Cracow, Sandomirie, et Lublin . . . 1666

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Nice example of Sanson's regional map of a portion of Poland, including the Palatinats of Cracow, Sandomirie, and Lublin. A nice example, with excellent detail.


1703 - Estats De La Couronne De Pologne ou sont les Royaume de Pologne, Duches et Provinces De Prusse, Cuiave, Mazovie, Russie Noire Yc Duches De Lithuanie, Volynie Podolie &c. De L'Ukraine &c . . . 1703

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Rare late edition of Sanson's second map of the Polish Empire, Lithuania, Ukraine, etc. Sanson created this scarce map of modern day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine, etc. in 1655 and revised several times over the next 50 years. The date 1679...


1706 - La Russie Rouge ou Polonoise, qui Comprend les Provinces de la Russie Rouge, de Volhynie, et de Podolie, divisées en leur Palatinats; Vulgairement Connües Sous le Nom d'Ukraine ou Pays des Cosaques.

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Very rare Sanson map of Ukraine and so-called Russie Rouge, stretching from Lublin in the west to Kherson Oblast in the east (here called "Confin de La Petite Tartarie"). "Russie Rouge" or Red Ruthenia or Red Rus' is a term dating back to the Middle...


1648 - Estats du Czar ou Grand duc de la Russie Blanche ou Moscovie

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Striking example of Sanson's map of Russia, Poland and Ukraine, extending from the Gulf of Finland to Petite Tartary and to Bulgaria and Tartaria.


1664 - Principaute de Transilvanie tiree de W. Lazius, de I Sambucus, et de G. Mercator &c. . . . 1664

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Finely detailed map of Transylvania, published by Nicolas Sanson in Paris. Sanson utilized the prior maps of several important mapmakers, including Wolfgang Lazius (1514-1565), Johannes Sambucus (1531-1584), Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594).


1657 - Hertzogthuber Steyer Karnten, Krain &c. Duches De Stirie, Carinthe, Carniole, Comte de Cilley, Marq.sat de Windes, et Autres Estats Unis et hereditaires aux Arhciducs d'Austriche . . . 1657

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Nicolas Sanson's 1657 double-page engraved map of the Gulf of Venice in the southwest extending to southeastern Austria in the north, and to Croatia in the southeast. The map shows towns, rivers, lakes, mountains, islands and other details.


1658 - Carte générale de l'Italie et des Isles... 1658

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Nicolas Sanson's double-page engraved map of Italy, with a large, attractive cartouche in the lower left. Published in Paris in 1658. The map was first issued by Tavernier in the 1640s.


1658 - Isle et Royme de Sardaigne

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Nicolas Sanson's engraved map of Sardinia, published in Paris in 1658.


1643 - Haute Lombardie et pays circomvoisins... 1648

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Nicolas Sanson's 1643 double-page engraved map of northwestern Italy, from Lake Geneva in the west to the Gulf of Genoa and the Grisons in the east. The mountains are rendered in a pleasing pictorial fashion.