The De Orbe Novo Collection: Exploration in the New World 1492-1625 | 03 December 2009
CHAMPLAIN, Samuel de, (1567-1635). - Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois… Journal tres-fidele des observations faites es descouvertes de la Nouvelle France…
Sold for £650000
CHAMPLAIN, Samuel de, (1567-1635).
Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois… Journal tres-fidele des observations faites es descouvertes de la Nouvelle France…
Paris: Chez Jean Berjon, 1613. 2 parts in 1. 4to (238 x 178 mm). Engraved double-sheet map Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle Franse (451 x 794 mm) and 10 other engraved folding maps and views by Champlain including Deffaite des Yroquois au Lac de Champlain, and the first map to attempt to record longitude and latitude for the new england coast, with detailed maps of the nauset and chatham harbors in cape cod in 1605 with 13 in-text illustrations. The map facing p. 9 is in its correct state without pasted over correction, while the illustration of an Iroqouis fort is bound at page 234 rather than page 255 as in the Church copy. Contemporary vellum, gilt-stamped supra-libros of Convent of Minims of Paris to upper and lower cover; housed in modern blue half morocco slipcase. Condition: very faint intermittent browning (mostly due to paperstock) and pinhole spotting to a few leaves only, thin worming track in lower margin of pp. 22-26 not affecting text, contemporary ink notation to a few folding plates recording the page they are to face, the Iroquois Fort plate with manuscript note in upper margin; the large folding map with tiny burnhole; front hinge perhaps a trifle tender, lacks old ties. Provenance: Covent of Minims of Paris (inscription, supra-libros); sold by Henry Stevens to Frank Siebert.
Acquisition: Siebert sale, Sotheby's New York, 21 May 1999, lot 5, $360,000 via William Reese Company.
first edition, the renowned siebert copy of this landmark of french americana and new world exploration, a pioneering work in ethnography and the first accurate mapping of the new england coast. One of the finest copies of this work extant, an unsophisticated tall and wide-margined copy, in a contemporary binding.
One of the most important works of the 17th century, remarkable in its content and exceution, being the work of one man -- a gifted naturalist, an artist (trained as a portrait painter in France), a skilled cartographer and sympathetic ethnographer. Samuel de Champlain's account of his voyages of 1604, 1610, 1611 and 1613 are a key exploration narrative, one considerably enhanced by the author's lively illustrations in which he records his mapping of a vast area with unprecedented detail and accuracy, while also depicting the flora and fauna of the New World. The vignettes within the rare Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle Franse are an artist's rendition of new species, giving a hint of the varied and vast natural resources to be found in the New World. Of this monumental cartographic endeavor, Armstrong called the map, "not the work of a bureaucrat, but of a skillful pyschologist, promoter and politician…Champlain's map of 1612 is the most important historical cartography of Canada."
The work also contains the only contemporary image of Champlain, in fact, a self portrait; a small figure firing a wheel-lock during an engagement with the Iroquois near present day Ticonderoga(Deffaite des Yroquois au Lac de Champlain). This plate is also important for being the earliest engraved illustration of any New York locale or event Also herein is his visit to present day Cape Cod, two decades prior the the English settlement of the area, with Champlain sailing as far south as Vineyard Sound. Two folding maps detail the Nauset and Chatham harbors (Port Fortune facing p. 132 and Malle Barre facing p. 88 respectively) the latter also noted on the large folding map.
Champlain's account of the Cape provides a fine example of the details in both ethography and natural history for which his narrative of voyages is renowned, giving minute detail of the Indian customs in particular: ""Before reaching their wigwams we entered a field planted with Indian corn … The corn was inflower and some five and a half feet in height. There was some less advanced, which they sow later. We saw an abundance of Brazilian beans, many edible squashes of various sizes, tobacco, and roots which they cultivate, the latter having the taste of artichoke. The woods are full of oaks, nut-trees, and very fine cypresses, which are of reddish colour and have a very pleasant smell. There were also several fields not cultivated, for the reason that the Indians let them lie fallow … Their wigwams are round, and covered with heavy thatch made of reeds. In the middle of the roof is an opening, about a foot and a half wide, through which issues the smoke of their fire."
A work whose importance is perhaps only surpassed by its scarcity in complete and unsophisticated condition, as found here, as the large folding map is often lacking or defective and other plates are often present only in facsimile. Previous to this copy's appearance in the Siebert sale, the only complete copies offered at auction were from the Dupont and Streeter collections, in 1991 and 1969 respectively, but neither were in this superior condition.
J. C. Armstrong, From Sea Unto Sea…Maps of Canada (1982) 7; Streeter sale 6:3630; Bell Jesuit Relations pp. 232--33; Burden 160, 161, 166--81; Church 360; European Americana 613/30; Lande 116; Wroth, Mirror of the Indian 83; Jones, Adventures 67; Harrisse Nouvelle France 27; JCB II: 93; Sabin 11835; www.nps.gov/history/archeology/visit/Champlain)
Thursday 03 December 2009, 10.30am