Map. 1719.

Henri Abraham Châtelain.

Carte très Curieuse de la Mer du Sud contenant des remarques nouvelles et très utiles… les Noms et la Route des Voyageurs…

Engraved map, hand coloured, printed in eight sheets joined.

Paris, l’Honore & Châtelain, 1719.

SKU SF001038 Category


An example with vibrant rich colouring of Henri Châtelain’s rare and magnificent wall chart of the Pacific and its surrounds. The Carte Très Curieuse was originally issued as the highlight of Châtelain’s encyclopedic Atlas Historique ou Nouvelle Introduction à l’histoire à la Chronologie et à la Géographe Ancienne et Moderne, published between 1705 and 1720. It is undoubtedly one of the most richly decorated world maps ever produced, described by Schwartz as ‘one of the most elaborately engraved maps’, and by Tooley as, ‘one of the most decorative maps of North America of the eighteenth century’. The superb engraving of this map was done by Bernard Picart (1673 1733).

In the top centre of the chart are nine portrait medallions of the major explorers including Magellan, Columbus, Vespucci, Drake, Dampier, Jacques l’Hermite, and Schouten. There are brief descriptions of their achievements, and the tracks of their great voyages of discovery are marked. There are five voyages marked across the Pacific including that of Magellan in 1520, Le Maire and Schouten in 1616 and L’Hermite in 1625.

Clustering around the margins of the chart are sumptuously engraved and richly coloured vignettes depicting indigenous peoples and exotic flora and fauna of the New World, as well as famous historic events. Some of the images, such as the scene of beavers building dams and the view of the codfish factory, are derived from the geographer Herman Moll, one of the leading cartographers and map publishers of the eighteenth century, a friend of both William Dampier and Jonathan Swift.

Australia is charted according to the discoveries of Tasman, “Nouvelle Hollande découverte l’an 1644”, and the new place name “Golfo de Carpentarie” is recorded. The north of the continent is shown strangely flattened and the south coast of Tasmania, “Terre d’Antoine Diemens”, is placed at a very great distance from the rest of the continent. An outstanding, rare and important map; very few maps of this scale have survived, fewer still in such remarkably fine condition.

Goss, ‘The Mapping of North America’, 52; Leighly, ‘California as an Island’, pl. xx; McLaughlin, 190; Nordenskiold Collection, 753; Schwartz/Ehrenberg, pp. 146 47, pl. 85; Tooley, 53 (pl. 251); Wagner, 511.nt times.

Additional information



Henri Abraham Châtelain


Ink, Paper