Currency Exchange
Back to Main Blog

French Cartography - Creative Mapping.

There are few things as fascinating and evocative as an antique map. Unlike the highly functional maps of today, maps used to be decorative works of art, that not only portrayed a country's geography but also its culture and history.

In the case of many French mapmakers, the portrayal of a region on a map, was often an indication of where it was made! A number of French cartographers had a reputation for a fairly creative approach to the art of making maps. One of the best known examples of this kind of map (and the map that is probably best known in Australia), is undoubtedly the mid-18th century map by the Hydrographical Engineer of the French Navy, Hydrographer to the King, and member of the Royal Society of London, Jacques Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772). Bellin was commissioned by the King of France to survey all the known coastlines of the world. Map Bellin.Terres Australes

On his Cartes Reduite des Terres Australes(Reduced Chart of the Southern Lands) map of Australia (Nouvelle Hollande as it was then known) Bellin used a dotted line to join Tasmania to Vanuata (Espritu Santu) and Papua New Guinea.

His supposition 'followed European thought of the time' - 20 years before Captain Cook's discovery and charting of the east coast and named it New South Wales. At least Bellin printed along the wavy dotted line (in French) "I suppose that Van Diemen's Land could join with the Land of the Holy Ghost, but without proof.."  This will always be one of my favourite antique maps!

Posted: 25/02/2014 2:47:49 PM by | with 0 comments