Nicolas Sanson (aka, Sanson d'Abbeville); 1600-1667.
Nicolas Sanson, son; 1626-1648.
Guillaume Sanson, son; c1630-1703.
Adrien Sanson, son; c1630-1708.
Pierre Moulard Sanson, grand son; c1660-1730.
Born of an old Picardy house of Scottish descent, Sanson
was educated by the Jesuits of Amiens.
A trained historian, Sanson branched into cartography to better
illustrate his tutorial works.
Attracting the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, he was soon
appointed "Géographe Ordinaire du Roi".
He was actually educating Louis XIII of France (and then Louis
XIV), in the related matters.
He is most well known for his major atlas "Cartes générales
de toutes les parties du monde" published in 1654, with several
re-editions (the last one in 1676 was named "Cartes générales
de la géographie anciennes et nouvelles").
But his call to fame comes from the preparation of a few maps
which proved to be seminal, and influenced generally accepted
continent delineations for many decades to come. Among others:
"Amérique septentrionale" in 1650 noted for the "island" California,
"le Canada ou nouvelle France" noted for its first accurate
representation of the great lakes, and "le Brésil dont la
côte est possédée par les portugais et divisée en quatorze
capitaineries" (both in 1656).
Upon his death, his successors ran a continued successful
business, in particular thanks to their excellent partnership
with Pierre Duval (his son-in-law), and Alexis Hubert Jaillot.
Both men re-engraved a lot of his plates, and prepared the
unfinished maps he did not have the opportunity to print.
The Sanson dynasty is often credited for planting the seeds
of the golden age of French cartography in competition with
the Dutch school.
Carte Particulière des Postes de France.
This very large map (24 ¼" X 26 3/8") in two sheets is one
of the last of a long series of derivatives. Sanson and Melchior
Tavernier came up in 1632 with a world first: mapping the
infrastructure network used daily by the French Postal Service.
Sanson recycled it in the 1654 "Cartes Générales de toute
les parties du Monde" (Tavernier was one of the engravers
for this major work).
Later, Alexis Hubert Jaillot, with Sanson's heirs, used a
constantly updating plate in his 1681 Atlas Nouveau, published
first in Paris, and then in Amsterdam.
The present item seems to have been printed for a 1693 issue
of said work.
Of course, the major interesting feature is the intricate
and dense connecting highway network that the French Posts
had been able to build over the territory (empty spots indicating
areas of "resistance" to the central power; e.g. Brittany).
Mail, goods and travelers were constantly moving over these
well maintained and patrolled roads, inns were always well
stocked, fresh horses were always available to pull the stagecoaches,
and communications were quite fast over such a vast expanse
(in the bottom left cartouche, check the three messengers
reaching the stop over...).
No text on verso.