Nicolas Sanson



First Editions







  4 Quarto Atlases


Europe…L'Asie…L'Afrique…L'Amerique…Paris, [1648], 1652, 1656, 1657.  4to., [4 vols. In one]:  title, dedication (each double-page), (30) pp. & 13 maps; (101) pp. & 17 maps; (102) pp. & 18 maps; (82) pp. & 15 maps; all maps in contemporary outline color.  Bound in contemporary mottled calf, rebacked and retaining the original backstrip.  Some text leaves remargined at an early time; three maps possibly supplied but correct; some minor soiling but in general a very good copy.

Four rare first editions.  The first atlases published by the Sansons, the most influential map publishers working in France during the seventeenth century, were these quarto atlases of the continents.  Most of these maps were original productions and not mere reductions of already existing maps.  A number of them were, in fact, the only ones published by Sanson of particular regions.

The America volume, for example, represents the most advanced mapping of America of its period and was the only Sanson atlas exclusively devoted to the New World.  The maps of North America and Canada are smaller versions of Sanson's most important maps of America; the others appeared only in this quarto atlas format.  The map of California stands for the very first separate map of California as an island, and the map of Florida carries a new and influential interpretation of the region.

Sanson's Asia volume was the first separately published atlas devoted to Asia.  Prior to the publication of this work in 1652, Asia was treated as a section in world atlases or on separately published maps only.  Sanson bases his information here on four sources:  the classical western authors, including Ptolemy; Arab authors, modern published travel accounts such as Linschoten and the Jesuit authors who were sending  back reports from the East; and the Dutch cartographers.  Included here are maps of Japan, the Philippines, the East Indies, India, as well as maps of the Middle Eastern countries.

The atlas of Africa contains new information on both the physical and cultural geography of that continent gleaned from the latest travel accounts and surveys.

*Pastoureau, Sanson Ia, IIa, IIIa, VIIIa.