|Artist||de Belleforest, François|
|Published||[A Paris, Chez Nicolas Chesneau, rue S. Iaques, au Chesne Verd. MDLXXV., Avec Privilege du Roy, et de la Cour. [Paris, 1575]|
|Dimensions||335 x 495 mm|
A rare, beautiful, and historically significant woodcut map of the world, engraved by Belleforest for La Cosmographie universelle de tout le monde, a much improved and enlarged French version of Munster's celebrated Cosmographia, published by Nicolas Chesneau and Michel Sonnius in 1575.
The map itself is a very close copy of Ortelius' map of the same title from the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, albeit in woodcut rather than copper. In place of Ortelius' quote from Cicero in the bottom cartouche, Belleforest has substituted a French title 'Description universelle de tout le Monde.' Geographically the map is identical, with the same bulbous treatment of South America as in the first state of Ortelius' map, a large and practically amorphous Southern Continent (though New Guinea is shown as a separate island), and a somewhat laterally exaggerated North America. The map retains Ortelius' cartographic commentary, including notes about the discovery of the Americas by Columbus, and a note on the eponymous birds of the region of Terra Australis called the 'Kingdom of Parrots.' The remaining spaces between the oval of the map and the block's border are filled with clouds.
François de Belleforest (1530-1583) was a French author, poet, and geographer, as well as a prolific translator and editor. He is credited as having authored the first French pastoral novel, and his translation of Matteo Bandello's historic tragedies may have been the inspiration for Shakespeare's Hamlet. In cartographic circles, he is most celebrated for his French translation and adaptation of Munster's Cosmographia, which was much enlarged from the German original with extra maps and views based on the works of Ortelius, Braun and Hogenberg, and others.
Condition: Horizontal and vertical folds as issued. Manuscript border in margins in old hand, just outside printed border. Sheet trimmed along top margin with loss of first of three lines of text in top left corner, as issued. Minor time toning to edges of sheet. Tear to bottom right margin, not affecting map. Blank on verso.