Henri Abraham Chatelain; 1684-1743.
Little is known about this Parisian born protestant minister.
A prolific engraver he resided in London (from 1710), then
in The Hague (from 1721) and finally in Amsterdam from 1728.
His only call to fame is for his contribution to the encyclopedic
"Atlas Historique, ou Nouvelle Introduction à l'Histoire,
à la Chronologie, et à la Géographie..." with text by Nicholas
Gueudeville. It was issued several times between 1705 and
1721, and then again between 1732 and 1739.
Most of the maps he prepared for this monumental seven volume
work were derived from De L'isle, sometimes seemingly from
de Wit. They are characteristically replete with detailed
annotations and explanations, sometimes to the point of showing
much more text than image.
Carte du Gouvernement de l'Amerique.
This large composition (17 5/16" X 13") has for inset a
small (3 ¾" X 5 1/8") map of the Americas, very influenced
by the Sanson design (see the California "island").
This plate depicts the European possessions in the Americas,
it is a wonderful example of Chatelain's encyclopedic style.
It was included in the Atlas Historique, as the thirty-eighth
map in volume one.
One of the most fascinating plates in the atlas, it outlines
the division of European possessions across the Hemisphere.
The large central table lists the principal governmental infrastructures,
ecclesiastical organizations, and geographical delineations.
It comprises four elaborate vignettes showing the elegant
settings of the Spanish governing bodies for the "Indies".
A key identifying the principal locations of the European
possessions is also provided, along with a detailed historical
The small inset map of North and South America shows California
as an island and New Mexico extending across most of western
North America up into Canada.
By combining a wealth of information and geographical observation,
with delicate engraving and an uncomplicated composition,
this elegant plate is a superb example from the golden age
of French mapmaking.
No text on verso.