CHATELAIN, Henri-Abraham

Carte tres curieuse de la Mer du Sud ...

Size : 85,4 x 144 cm
Color : Hand Colored
Condition : Sheet reinforced with papier japon
Technique : Copper engraving
Reference : 519-29

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Complete title : Carte tres curieuse de la Mer du Sud, contenant des remarques nouvelles et tres utiles non seulement sur les ports et îles de cette mer, Mais aussy sur les principaux Pays de l'Amerique tant Septentroinale que Meridionale, avec les Noms & la Route des Voyageurs par qui la decouverte en a été faite. Le tout pour l'intelligence des Dissertations suivantes.

The most important map made by Chatelain centered on the Americas revealing trade and travel tracks in the Pacific and Atlantic.

This large scale four sheet map depicts North and South America. From the north it shows Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and extends till the farthest point south of the American continent. It thus covers in details both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the surrounding islands, Canada that is named Nouvelle France, the Great Lakes colonial United States (California as an island, New Mexico, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, New York, Carolina...), Mexico, the West Indies and Caribbean Islands, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina... Moreover, it encompasses considerable regions of the world as it stretches from parts of Asia (China, Japan, Philippines...) and Australia in the west till parts of Europe (Portugal, France, Spain) and Africa (Alger, Tunis, Morocco, Barbarie, Nigeria, Guinea...) in the east.

Even though Chatelain adopted his contemporaries' depiction of California as an island, he still included a remark noting that: "some moderns" believed that California was attached to North America. This made it one of the first maps to counter argue the myth of California being an island. A major fallacy that was reflected in European maps between the 16th and 18th centuries.

This map is richly illustrated by numerous insets and vignettes on its top and bottom boarders. They mostly represent narrative scenes from the encounters of European explorers in this new found land, specifically, a large vignette of the Niagara Falls, vignettes of hunting and drying of cod, hunting of beavers and bears, night huntings, sugar mills, mines, a Mexican Temple, a human sacrifice ritual... Noting that all scenes are very detailed and reflect the region's people and their way of life as well as its flora and fauna. Towards the top boarder the author included medallions with portraits of 9 explorers that contributed to the discovery of America: Christophe Colomb, Amerique Vespuce, Olivier de Nord, Guillaume Dampierre, Magellan Portugais, Jacques l'Hermite, François Darc, Guillaume Schouten, and Robert Cavelier de la Salle de Rouen.

Other than these elaborate graphical scenes, Chatelain provided generous notes and remarks on the map permitting a wider understanding of the the travel routes of explorers and French and British land claims. Examples of these notes on the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean are: "Route des Isles Antilles et du golfe de Mexique, Route de Cap de Bonne Esperance, Route de Guillaume Schouten et de Jacob le Maire en 1616, Route de Magellan 1520, Route de Jacques l'Hermite en 1625, Route de Hourique ou Grand Vaisseau qui va revient tout les ans d'Acapulco aux Manilles, Route d'Olivier de Nord l'an 1600..." Some other notes indicated notes on rivers, islands, hunts and most importantly French settlements.

In fact the first half of the 18th century was a period when European cartographers reflected the land claims of their countries on their maps. This is clearly noticed in French and British cartography of the Americas during the period between 1700 and 1750. A major example is De l'Isle map of Louisiana and the course of the Mississippi (1718) that showed the British colonies surrounding French possessions in the west and claimed Carolina for France. The British were bothered by explicit claims in De l'Isle's map and referenced Herman Moll's map that was published in 1720 "Map of North America According to the Newest and Most exact Observations". [1] This map by Chatelain was published during the same period as De l'Isle's map, and was most probably based on it and therefore marked the history of American Cartography.

This map made part of Chatelain's seven volume Atlas Historique published between 1705 and 1720. The Historical Atlas of Chatelain was a complex and ambitious work, Henri Abraham Châtelain's Atlas Historique is one of the most complete encyclopedias of its time. Originally published in Amsterdam between 1705 and 1720 by L'Honoré and Châtelain, the Atlas Historique was corrected, enlarged and republished until 1739, date of the fourth and last edition. Designed for the general public, fascinated at the beginning of the 18th century by the newly conquered colonies, the new discoveries, the distant countries (such as the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia, China, Japan, Indonesia...), it is illustrated with numerous maps, many of which are based on those of the French cartographer Guillaume Delisle.

[1] Shwartz & Ehrenberg (1980). The mapping of America. New York: Henry N. Abrams, pp. 142.

[2] Ibid, plate [85]

CHATELAIN, Henri-Abraham

Henri Abraham Chatelain (1684-1743) was a protestant pastor. He was the grandson of a rich Parisian merchant who introduced the industry of Spanish gold and silver stitching in Paris. Chatelain's family immigrated to the Netherlands in 1678. Between 1704 and 1707 he studied theology in Leiden. His studies permitted him to become the pastor of Saint-Martin Church, in London. In 1721, he was called back to serve in Holland, specifically to the Hague in 1721 and later to Amsterdam in 1728, the place of his death.

In the history of cartography, Henri is known along with his brother Zacharias Chatelain (1690-1754) for their Atlas Historique which was published between 1705 and 1739. The first edition of the atlas was published by "L’Honoré & Châtelain" Which refers to the association between Zacharias Chatelain and his brother in law François l'Honoré. The latter was a bookseller active in Amsterdam who was also known as "Francois L'Honoré et compagnie"  between 1706 and 1726. Later edition of the Atlas have the imprint of "L’Honoré & Châtelain Libraires" or "Frères Châtelain Libraires". The statement of responsibility of the Atlas as it states: "par Mr. C*** ; avec des dissertations sur l'histoire de chaque état, par Mr. Gueudeville", thereby the anonymous Mr. C refers to the Chatelain brothers and  the texts of the atlas are attributed to Gueudeville, Nicolas.