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2006 Catalog > Coronelli/Nolin, Map of New Mexico

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Coronelli’s Great Map of New Mexico in the Later Edition
perpetuating the Mythical American West

9. Vincenzo Maria Coronelli / Jean Baptist Nolin. “Le Nouveau Mexique appelé aussi Nouvelle Grenade et Marata. Avec Partie de Californie. Selon les Memoires les plus Nouveaux. Par le Pere Coronelli Cosmographe de la SSme. Republique DE VENISE Corrigée et augmentée Par le S.r Tillemon A PARIS. Chez J. B. Nolin sur le Quay de l’Horloge à l’Enseigne de la Place des Victoires Vers le Pont Neuf Avec Privilege du Roy 1742” (Paris: Chez J. B. Nolin, 1742 [1688]). Copperplate engraving in black and white, as issued. 17 3/4 x 23 1/2" at neat line. Sheet: 23 x 31". Frame size: 27 1/4 x 32 3/4". Large title cartouche at u. r. shows mining with native slaves overseen by Europeans. Elaborate cartouche at l. r. encases an “Avertissement [Notification]” by Coronelli. Professionally backed with archival tissue; very faint marginal toning. Excellent, with a strong dark impression. Handsome archival presentation in gold-tone frame.

Price: SOLD.

In 1742, Jean Baptist Nolin II published the present map, a reissue of Coronelli’s famous map of the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, originally published by Nolin’s father in 1688. The first-edition Coronelli / Nolin map was the best large-scale map of New Mexico produced in the seventeenth century. It was the earliest map to depict the Spanish discoveries along the upper Rio Grande and the first printed map to show its course as properly flowing to the Gulf of Mexico. It is a foundational document in the mapping of the American Southwest and thus provided a prototype for French map makers during the next fifty years. Nolin fils published his new edition from his father’s original plate without alteration, except to the imprint, in which the address and date have been changed. This later edition represents a fascinating trend in European commercial map making in the early eighteenth century—the perpetuation of imaginary geography and wishful thinking about the American West. Wheat notes that it is “one of the anomalies of cartography that fiction has frequently been preferred to the emerging truth. . . . The American West has been the victim of much imaginary geography, over the centuries, not the least stubborn chapter of which had to do with the Island of California. Even such eminent geographers as Nicolas de Fer and Jean Baptiste Nolin continued for many years to disregard Father Kino’s findings.” Indeed, the 1742 Nouveau Mexique, Wheat continues, “not only failed to show Kino’s discoveries, but kept California as an island and made all the old-time rivers flow into what is in fact the California Gulf. . . . [It even] declared to have been corrected and augmented by Tillemon as it had been a half century earlier.” The 1742 edition continues the superb quality of the first edition, and despite the perpetuation of throwback geography, the mapping remains accurate for the Rio Grande Valley and the Indian pueblos along the river: Taos, San Juan, Santo Domingo, Acoma, Nambe, Santa Clara, and San Ildefonso. The tribes of the Apaches, Navajo, and Ute are also indicated. Marvelous mythical information, of course, is intact, including the Quivera and Teguaio regions and the “Lago de Oro” opposite the “Mer de Californie.” A rare map in either edition, the present is a particularly fine example of the curious cartographic trend to perpetuate the mythical American West in the early 1700s.

Refs.: Cohen, Mapping the West, pp. 43–45 (illust.); Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, vol. I, pp. 70, 77–78, no. 119.

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