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Ancient British Isles by Nicolas Sanson. 1652

Nicolas Sanson (1600-1667) - Guillaume Sanson (1633-1703)

Originally from Abbeville, Nicolas I Sanson showed a keen interest in historical geography. Still very young, he published a map of ancient Gaul and two treatises, Britannia and Portus Itius on Abbeville and Boulogne's origins. His meeting with Melchior Tavernier was decisive: it prompted him to give up his duties as a military engineer in Picardy and devote himself to engraved cartography.

At the same time, Sanson had drawn up the outline of modern France. He got the help of Tavernier who encouraged him to compete with the Dutch map publishers. Tavernier contacted other French cartographers whose works he published.

From 1643, N. Sanson obtained a privilege to publish a work personally, the Princes souverains de l'Italie. Then, in 1644 and 1645, he had his famous geographical tables printed, which significantly contributed to his fame. He also published a series of atlases in quarto of the four continents.

In 1648, N. Sanson associated himself with Mariette for the publishing of atlases. From then on, certain maps bore his name, and others Mariette's. N. Sanson and Mariette worked together for more than 20 years. After the death of N. Sanson, Mariette acquired the entire fund. Since Mariette only wanted to publish complete atlases, individual maps were no longer sold, and some army generals complained to the king.

The disagreement between the Sanson family and Pierre II Mariette culminated in 1671 when Guillaume Sanson took the case to court. From then on, there was no longer any question of collaboration: Guillaume Sanson started working for another publisher, Alexis-Hubert Jaillot.

The Sanson family faced financial difficulties, and in 1692, their cousin, Pierre Moullart-Sanson, bought the entire geographic fund from his uncles and aunt. Moullart-Sanson restarted the publishing of Sanson's world atlas, and in 1704 he acquired a privilege for publishing all the works of Nicolas and Guillaume Sanson, which continued to be published until 1730.


Pierre Mariette (1602-1658)

Bookseller, printseller, printer, and publisher, located in the Rue Saint-Jacques in Paris. On February 12, 1644, Pierre Mariette acquired most of Melchior Tavernier's fund. In 1646, he had a series of maps by Blaeu copied and asked Abraham Peyrounin to engrave them. In the meantime, he published the works of Nicolas Sanson. In 1650 he published the atlas Théâtre Géographique de France. A second edition followed in 1653. He later contributed to Sanson's atlas, the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde. Many maps of Mariette's Théatre appeared in later editions of Sanson's Cartes générales.

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Brtiannicae [sic] Insulae in quibus Albium sive Britannia Maior Iuernia sive Britannia Minor tum et Orcades, Ebudes, Cassiterides.

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Item Number:  29623 Authenticity Guarantee

Category:  Antique maps > Europe > British Isles

Old, antique map of the ancient British Isles by Nicolas Sanson, published in cooperation with Pierre Mariette.

Title: Brtiannicae [sic] Insulae in quibus Albium sive Britannia Maior Iuernia sive Britannia Minor tum et Orcades, Ebudes, Cassiterides.
Aut N. Sanson Abbavillceo Christianiß. Galliarum Regis Geographo
A Paris chez M. Taverniet Graveur & imprimeur du Roy pour les Cartes Geographiques et  aut.es tailles douces
Et a present chez Pierre Mariette, rue St Iacques a l'Esperance.
Avec Privillege du Roy A° 1641.


Date of the first edition: 1641.
Date of this map: 1652.
Date on map: 1641.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Map size: 400 x 525mm (15.75 x 20.67 inches).
Sheet size: 430 x 580mm (16.93 x 22.83 inches).
Verso: Blank.
Condition: Original coloured in outline, excellent.
Condition Rating: A+.

From: Atlas with Sanson maps, without a title page, published by Pierre Mariette. 1652.

Pastoureau, p. 401: "En 1652, on les voit [les cartes de Sanson] pour la première fois réunies en un recueil sans titre, mais dont la structure est celle d'un atlas du monde. Ce recueil, daté par son ex-libris, contient 70 cartes dont 14 de géographie ancienne." (In 1652, we see them [Sanson's maps] for the first time brought together in an untitled collection, but whose structure is that of an atlas of the world. This collection, dated by its ex-libris, contains 70 maps including 14 of ancient geography.)

Nicolas Sanson (1600-1667) - Guillaume Sanson (1633-1703)

Originally from Abbeville, Nicolas I Sanson showed a keen interest in historical geography. Still very young, he published a map of ancient Gaul and two treatises, Britannia and Portus Itius on Abbeville and Boulogne's origins. His meeting with Melchior Tavernier was decisive: it prompted him to give up his duties as a military engineer in Picardy and devote himself to engraved cartography.

At the same time, Sanson had drawn up the outline of modern France. He got the help of Tavernier who encouraged him to compete with the Dutch map publishers. Tavernier contacted other French cartographers whose works he published.

From 1643, N. Sanson obtained a privilege to publish a work personally, the Princes souverains de l'Italie. Then, in 1644 and 1645, he had his famous geographical tables printed, which significantly contributed to his fame. He also published a series of atlases in quarto of the four continents.

In 1648, N. Sanson associated himself with Mariette for the publishing of atlases. From then on, certain maps bore his name, and others Mariette's. N. Sanson and Mariette worked together for more than 20 years. After the death of N. Sanson, Mariette acquired the entire fund. Since Mariette only wanted to publish complete atlases, individual maps were no longer sold, and some army generals complained to the king.

The disagreement between the Sanson family and Pierre II Mariette culminated in 1671 when Guillaume Sanson took the case to court. From then on, there was no longer any question of collaboration: Guillaume Sanson started working for another publisher, Alexis-Hubert Jaillot.

The Sanson family faced financial difficulties, and in 1692, their cousin, Pierre Moullart-Sanson, bought the entire geographic fund from his uncles and aunt. Moullart-Sanson restarted the publishing of Sanson's world atlas, and in 1704 he acquired a privilege for publishing all the works of Nicolas and Guillaume Sanson, which continued to be published until 1730.


Pierre Mariette (1602-1658)

Bookseller, printseller, printer, and publisher, located in the Rue Saint-Jacques in Paris. On February 12, 1644, Pierre Mariette acquired most of Melchior Tavernier's fund. In 1646, he had a series of maps by Blaeu copied and asked Abraham Peyrounin to engrave them. In the meantime, he published the works of Nicolas Sanson. In 1650 he published the atlas Théâtre Géographique de France. A second edition followed in 1653. He later contributed to Sanson's atlas, the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde. Many maps of Mariette's Théatre appeared in later editions of Sanson's Cartes générales.

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