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Trade Card of Nicolas de Fer, Geographer and Map-seller, A La Sphere Royale

Artist or maker:
Unknown
Date:
1705 {printed date}
Place of Production:
Paris, France
Medium:
engraving on paper
Type of Object:
engravings
trade cards
Accession number:
3686.1.17.28
One of a set, see others

Commentary

Brief Description

Trade card of Nicolas de Fer, geographer (geographe) and map-seller, At the Royal Globe, dated 1705. The text and image are both engraved. The design consists of a view of an idealised shop interior with goods, a representation of the shop sign, and references to de Fer's patrons, all set above a text area.

The card is divided into two registers. The upper register takes the form of an architectural niche. A wide archway opens into the view of an idealised shop interior in the form of a palatial library. On the outer wall of the arch are two shields: at upper left the arms of Philippe of France, Duke of Anjou, and King of Spain from 1700: all the quarters of Spain, surmounted by the arms of Anjou; at upper right are the arms of Louis, Le Grand Dauphin. Both shields are framed by cartouches composed of scrolls, and supported by palm fronds. The arms of Louis are surrounded by a chain with a Maltese cross. A banner with the name of the shop sign stretches across the top of the arch. The bottom of the arch forms a cornice.

Below this cornice are two boxes made with a double rule, containing the text. This section does not take the form of an architectural feature.

The view through the archway shows a barrel vaulted hall, with simple arch windows forming a clerestory above rows of bookshelves full of bound volumes, which are interspersed with bays where scrolls are kept, stored horizontally piled on two pegs. The first two bays have globes on tables. The ceiling is decorated with a fleurs-de-lis pattern. In the middle of the ceiling is a domed recess, with a map of the night sky painted on it. Paintings adorn the walls between the windows: the first on the left shows a man in a chariot; the second, possibly Apollo and the python; the third Venus and Cupid. The floor is paved with large tiles forming a check pattern. On top of the book shelves, at each corner, stand small male and female busts.

At the far end of the room is a table, on the right of which is a man sitting and using a compass on a sheet of paper, and at the left, two men stand discoursing. In the middle ground, are four figures conversing. To the left, two monks with tonsured heads; to the right, a man carrying a sword dressed in a tricorn hat fringed with feathers, a cape and stockings, and a man dressed in a high periwig and a floor length black coat, possibly the proprietor. The latter holds a large scroll in his hand. In the foreground, to the right, is a man facing the viewer. He is dressed in a simple tricorn hat, knee-length coat and cravat. He holds a sheath of large papers under his arm. He appears to be a customer leaving the shop after a successful purchase.

In the centre foreground is a device illustrating the shop sign. On a plinth, composed of a rectangular block and an upper section with curved sides, are two plaques: the upper contains the name and trade of Nicolas de Fer; the lower the address and date. A framed mascaron of Apollo wearing a laurel wreath appears at the upper centre of the upper plaque. A festoon of laurel leaves drapes from the frame of the mascaron across the top and down the sides of the upper section of the plinth. On top of the square plinth is a large armillary sphere.

To the left and right of the plinth sit two male wingless putti, wearing drapes around their waists. On the right, the putto rests his head on his hand as if asleep, his elbow supported by the open book on his lap. He sits on a pile of books. At his feet is a map of a fortification, and various cartographic instruments, including a telescope and a compass. On the left, the putto measures with a compass whilst writing on a sheet of ruled paper. He also sits on a pile of books. At his feet are various cartographic instruments including a ruler, a protractor and a compass.

Curatorial Commentary

On the right, a customer, perhaps a sailor, walks out with a folder of maps he has purchased under his arm, but this is no ordinary shop. Instead, de Fer’s premises is imagined as a palatial library, complete with sculptures set on the bookshelves and a map of the night sky painted on the ceiling. The homes of de Fer’s royal patrons merge with the shop of their supplier, probably pictured as the be-wigged man on the right.

The gentleman dressed in the distinctive high periwig and a floor length black coat, may possibly represent the proprietor, Nicolas de Fer.

There is another example of this print in the British Museum, Banks Collection, 133.59, also dated 1705. Image and text size: 358 x 244.

According to Grand-Carteret, see Documentation, the print was modified as new products were made - note the emphasis on novelty [INVENTION]. Examples exist with dates of 1710, 1716, 1721. De Fer started off as a marchand-papetier, graveur and geographe. He sold paper for maps and architectural drawings, and also board games. He also brought mapmaking and the book trade closer to each other when he published a pocket version of his map of paris, meant to be taken along when people explored the city on foot (I am grateful for Joan de Jean for this information).

Jolly illustrates a version of the card with the details that it is from the publication "Table des forces de l'Europe", Paris 1723. The text on the lower plaque on the central pedestal reads: 'Chez J. F. Bernard, gendre de l'Auteur sur le Quay de l'Orloge du Palais à la Sphere Royale. 1740'. See Related Documents.

For another card for de Fer see 3686.1.85.173.

The popularity of De Fer's many maps of Europe are mentioned in the "Mercure Galant" in May 1694, pp. 88-89: 'Tous les ouvrage de Sr de Fer ont esté si bien receus jusques à present, qu'il suffit qu'on [d]çache qu'il en ait mis de nouveaux au jour pour les vouloir acheter'. De Fer is mentioned throughout this periodical, see for instance, May 1703, p. 165; July 1705, p. 224.

Phillippa Plock, 2008

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
362 x 248, folded to 362 x 217
Physical Details:
single sheet, image and text size: 362 x 248 (sheet trimmed to or within plate mark)
Transcription:
A LA SPHERE ROYALE. / N. DE FER / Geographe de / sa Majesté catho / lique (catholique) et de Monsei- / gneur le Dauphin / A PARIS / dans l'Isle du Palais sur le quay / de l'Orloge a la sphere Royale / 1705. / CATALOGUE DES OUVRAGES DU SR. DE FER jusqu'en l'Année 1705. / GRANDES CARTES. / MAPPE-MONDE ou grande Carte Universelle du Globe Terrestre et / Aquatique, suivant les dernieres Relations et Observations de Mrs. de / l'Academie Royale des Sieces [sic], avec les Figures des Planettes, et les Mesures / de la Terre au rapport de la Toise du Chatelet de Paris. / LES QUATRE PARTIE DU MONDE, sur les Nouvelles Observations / et dont les principaux points sont placez suivant le sentiment de Mrs. de l'Academie Royale des Siences. / LA FRANCE, Historique, Genealogique, et Geographique. / L'ESPAGNE, Historique, Genealogique, et Geographique. / LE PORTUGAL Tres particulier et tres exacte. / L'ALLEMAGNE, Historique Genealogique et Geographique. / LA LOMBARDIE, ou se trouve le cours du Po. et les autres Rivieres qui se dechargent avec les Etats du Duc de Savoye / de Milan de Mantoüe de Parme de Plaisance de Modene de / Boulogne de Ferrare d'Urbin et les Republiques de Venise / de Genes de Luques / L'ITALIE, avec la Route des Postes. / LA TERRE SAINTE, Ancienne, Moderne et Historique. / LES THEATRE DE LA GUERRE, en Allemagne, en Italie, / sur le Rhein, sur la Moselle, aux Païs Bas, et en Espagne. / L'ALSACE tres particuliere de plusieurs grandeurs. / LE COURS DU RHEIN, ET LE COURS DU DANUBE. / LES FRONTIERES DE FRANCE, ET DES PAIS BAS, ET / LE BAS RHEIN. / LA SOUARE, LA BAVIERE, et LE WIRTEMBERG. / LE PIEMONT, de plusieurs sortes, et particulier. / LE PLAN DE PARIS, de plusieurs grandeurs. / LA MOSELLE et LA SARRE / Une Carte tres particuliere des Païs situez entre le Pas de / Calais et le Rhein, aux environs de la Meuse, de l'Escaut, et / de la Lis, ou se trouve les Duchez de Brabant, de Limbourg, / des Iuliers, et de Luxembourg, Les Comtez de Flandre, de Hainaut, / d'Artois, et de Namur, le Boulonnois, le Ponthieu. / LIVRES et CARTES d'une Feuille / L'ATLAS CURIEUX ou LE MONDE composé de Trois cent / Figures, Cartes, et Descriptions, en un ou en deux Volumes, in folio en Tablettes. / LES FORCES DE L'EUROPE composé de deux cent Plans / des principales Places de cette Partie du Monde, in folio en Tablettes en un Volume. / SUCCESION DE LA COURONNE D'ESPAGNE, / LES LIVRES POUR LA GUERRE DITALIE D'ALLEMAGNE / et des PAIS BAS. / LE PETIT ATLAS, Tous ces derniers Livres sont in quarto; RECUEIL de cartes un grand in folio, ce Livre est composeé / de l'Introduction a la Geographie, de la Mappe-Monde, des 4. / Parties et de tous les principaux Etats de l'Europe en particulier / AVERTISSEMENT / Toutes les Cartes dont il est fait mention dans ce Catalogue, sont / sur les Nouvelles Observations de Mrs. de l'Academie Royale / des Siences, comme toutes celles que l'Auteur a faites depuis / douze ans, Etant le premier qui c'est servi de ces Observations / dans ses Ouvrages de Geographie, et la grande Mappe-Monde / qu'il a donné au Public en 1694, est la Premiere carte qui / aye paru Reformée ou Corigée sur les Nouvelles Observations.
Translation:
At the Royal Globe. Nicolas de Fer. Geographer to his Catholic Majesty and to Monseigneur the Dauphine. In Paris. In the Isle du Palais on the quai de l'Horloge, at the Royal Globe. 1705. Catalogue of works by Sr. de Fer, until the year 1705. Large maps. "The Mappa Mundi or Great Universal Map of the Terrestial and Aquatic Globe", according to the lastest reports and observations of Messieurs of the Académie Royale des Sciences, with illustrations of the planets, measurements of the earth from the report of De la Toise of the Chatelet in Paris. "The Four Corners of the World" with the latest observations and in which the principal points are placed according to the thinking of Messieurs of the Académie Royale des Sciences. Historic, genealogical, and geographic "France". Historic, genealogical, and geographic "Spain". "Portugal", very individual and very accurate. Historic, genealogical, and geographic "Germany". "Lombardy", where one finds the course of the river Po and other rivers, which flow into the States of the Duke of Savoy, of Milan, Mantua, Parma, of Plaisance, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara, Urbino, and the Republics of Venice, Genoa, and Lucca. "Italy" with the postal routes. "The Holy Land", ancient, modern and historic. "The Theatres of War", in Germany, Italy, on the Rhine, Moselle, in the Low Countries, and in Spain. "Alsace", very individual and in many sizes. The course of the Rhine, the course of the Danube. The borders of France, and the Low Countries, and the Lower Rhine. Swabia, Bavaria, Württemberg, Piedmont, in many ways and individually. "Map of Paris", in many sizes. The Moselle and the Sarre. A very individual map of map of the countries between the Pas de Calais and the Rhine, around the Meuse, the Scheldt and the Lis, where are to be found the Duchy of Brabant, Limbourg, Juliers, Luxembourg, the countries of Flanders, of Hainault, Artois, and of Namur, [the provinces of] Boulonnais and Pontieu. Books and single sheet maps. "The Curious Atlas of the World" composed of three hundred figures, maps and descriptions in one or two volumes, in folio in tablet form. The Forces of Europe composed of two hundred maps of the main places of this part of the world, in folio in tablet form in one volume. Succession to the Crown of Spain. Books on the War between Italy, Germany and the Low Countries. The Little Atlas. All these last books are in quarto. Collection of maps, large folio. This book is composed of an Introduction to Geography to the Mappa Mundi, to the four parts [of the world] and all the principal states in Europe in particular. Notice all the maps of which mention is made in this catalogue are based on the latest observations of Messieurs of the Académie Royale des Sciences, as on all those which the author has made in the last twelve years. Being the first who has made use of these observations in his geographical work, and the large Mappa Mundi which he gave to the public in 1694, is the first map which seems to have revised or corrected on the basis of these new observations.
Language:
French

History

Provenance:
Owned by Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur (b.1822, d.1893); included in sale of Destailleur's library, Damascène Morgand (b.1840, d.1898), Paris, 13 April 1891, part of lot no. 351, 'Recueil d'Adresses, Cartes de visite, Billets de Bal, Brevets Militaires, etc. En un vol. in-fol., velin. Recueil des plus importants comprennant 355 pieces, adresses, billets d'invitation, titres de livres, brevets militaries, assignats, etc. Adresses au nombre de 220 des XVIIe, XVIIIe siècles' (price paid for volume: 2,700 FF); acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898); inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Part of:
Recueil d'adresses: A collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century French, German, Belgian, Swiss, Dutch, Italian and Spanish trade cards, labels, wrappers, advertisements and related commercial ephemera bound in four volumes. 3686.1-4
Collection:
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Bibliography

Bibliography

Damascène Morgand; b.1840, d.1898; Catalogue des livres rares et precieux composant la Bibliothèque de M. Hippolyte Destailleur; 1891; Paris; p. 90, no. 351
John Grand-Carteret; Papeterie et papetiers de l'ancien temps; Paris; Georges Putois; 1913; p. 219; illustrates an example of the card, the verso of which was used as an invoice.
Phillippa Plock; Advertising Books in Eighteenth-Century Paris: Evidence from Waddesdon Manor's Trade Card Collection; Robin Myers, Michael Harris, Giles Mandelbrote, Books for Sale: The Advertising and Promotion of Print since the Fifteenth Century, London, Oak Knoll Press (Delaware), The British Library, 2009; 87-108; pp. 101-105, fig. 6

Related literature

Marianne Grivel; Le commerce de l'estampe à Paris au XVIIe siècle; Geneva; Librairie Droz; 1986. p. 299, on de Fer
Mary Sponberg Pedley, The Map Trade in Paris, 1650-1825, Imago Mundi, 33, 1981, 33-45
Mercure Galant; Paris. May 1694, pp. 88-89, on de Fer
Claude Jolly; Histoire des bibliothèques françaises. Les bibliothèques sous l'Ancien Régime, 1530-1789; Paris; Promodis; 1988. p. 334, illustrates a version of this trade card

Indexed terms

People as Subject:
Louis of France, Le Grand Dauphin (b.1661, d.1711)
De Fer, Nicolas (b.c 1624, d.1720)
Philippe V of Spain (b.1683, d.1746)
Académie Royale des Sciences
Provenance Person:
Rothschild, James de (b.1878, d.1957)
Destailleur, Gabriel-Hippolyte (b.1822, d.1893)
Morgand, Damascène (b.1840, d.1898)
Rothschild, Baron Ferdinand de (b.1839, d.1898)
Rothschild, Alice de (b.1847, d.1922)
Research Keywords:
Viewing
Men as Proprietors/Consumption
Men as Consumers/Consumption
Childhood
Sociability
Social Networks
Invention & Novelty
Monarchy
Academies
Absolutism
Ephemera
Subjects:
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Crosses
Mythology/Creatures/Cherub, Putto or Putti
Work & Occupations/Educational & Scientific/Map-maker
Figures/Male
Figures/Group
Figures/Female
Figures/Child
Work & Occupations/Social Rank/Lower Classes
Work & Occupations/Social Rank/Middling Classes
Everyday Life/Shopping
Architecture/Buildings/Workspaces
Work & Occupations/Trade & Commercial/Merchant
Objects/Shop Goods
Interiors/Workspaces
Interiors/Public, Municipal & Entertainment
Mythology/Gods & Goddesses/Venus
Mythology/Gods & Goddesses/Apollo
Mythology/Gods & Goddesses/Cupid
Mythology/Creatures/Python
Everyday Life/Education
Architecture/Buildings/Public, Municipal & Entertainment
Nature, Landscape & The Elements/Night Sky
Work & Occupations/Governance & Public Administration/Monarchs
Heraldry/Coat of Arms
Heraldry/Heraldic Devices
Everyday Life/Entertainment/Conversation
Work & Occupations/Religious Vocations/Monk
Work & Occupations/Maritime & Military/Sailor
Work & Occupations/People Working
Objects/Scientific Equipment/Mathematical Instruments
Objects/Globes & Maps
Objects/Visual Arts/Architectural Plans
Objects/Reading, Writing & Printed Matter/Book
Objects/Furnishings/Bookcase
Allegory & Personifications/Sculpture
Portraits/Male
Everyday Life/Sleeping
Objects/Visual Arts/Painting
Nature, Landscape & The Elements/Night Sky
Objects/Furnishings/Table
Work & Occupations/Governance & Public Administration/Monarchs
Nature, Landscape & The Elements/Water
Objects/Scientific Equipment/Surveying Instruments
Objects/Armour & Weaponry/Shield
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Leaf Motifs
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Figural or Animal Motifs
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Flower Motifs/Fleurs-de-lis
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Panels, Plaques, Medallions
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Scroll Motifs
Decorative Motifs & Patterns/Sun, Moon or Star Motifs
Place as Subject:
Paris, France
France
Spain
Portugal
Germany
Lombardy, Italy
Milan, Italy
Mantua, Italy
Parma, Italy
Plaisance, Italy
Modena, Italy
Bologna, Italy
Ferrara, Italy
Urbino, Italy
Venice, Italy
Genoa, Italy
Lucca, Italy
Italy
Vatican City State (Holy See)
Netherlands
Belgium
Alsace, France
Swabia, Germany
Bavaria, Germany
Wurtenburg, Germany
Piedmont, Italy
Calais, France
Luxembourg
Genres:
Genre Subjects
Portraiture

Other details

Location of Premises:
quai de l'Horloge, Paris
Shop Sign:
Sphere Royale, A La
Trades (Original Language):
géographe/Map trade activities
marchand de cartes/Map trade activities
Products:
ATLAS
MAPPA
MUNDI
CARTES
DE
RECUEILS
ALLEMAGNE
CARTES
D
ET
GENEALOGIQUE
GEOGRAPHIQUE
GÉNÉALOGIQUE
GÉOGRAPHIQUE
HISTORIQUE
CARTES
DE
ET
FRANCE
GENEALOGIQUE
GEOGRAPHIQUE
GÉNÉALOGIQUE
GÉOGRAPHIQUE
HISTORIQUE
CARTES
DE
LA
LOMBARDIE
CARTES
DE
ET
LA
MOSELLE
SARRE
BAVIERE
BAVIÈRE
CARTES
DE
ET
LA
LE
SOUABE
WURTTEMBERG
WÜRTTEMBERG
ANCIENNE
CARTES
DE
ET
HISTORIQUE
LA
MODERNE
SAINTE
TERRE
ALSACE
CARTES
DE
L
BAS
CARTES
DE
DES
ET
FRANCE
FRONTIERES
FRONTIÈRES
LE
PAYS
RHIN
ALLEMAGNE
AUX
BAS
CARTES
DE
DES
EN
ESPAGNE
ET
GUERRE
ITALIE
LA
LE
MOSELLE
PAYS
RHIN
SUR
THEATRES
THÉÂTRES
CARTES
DE
ESPAGNE
ET
GENEALOGIQUE
GEOGRAPHIQUE
GÉNÉALOGIQUE
GÉOGRAPHIQUE
HISTORIQUE
L
CARTES
DE
ITALIE
L
AUX
CALAIS
CARTES
DE
DES
ENTRE
ENVIRONS
ESCAUT
ET
L
LA
LE
LIS
MEUSE
PAS
PAYS
RHIN
SITUES
SITUÉS
CARTES
DES
DU
MONDE
PARTIES
QUATRE
CARTES
COURS
DANUBE
DU
ET
LE
RHIN
CARTES
DU
PIEDMONT
CARTES
DU
PORTUGAL
CARTES
D
FEUILLE
UNE
CARTES
ATLAS
LE
PETIT
DE
EUROPE
FORCES
L
LES
LIVRE
ALLEMAGNE
D
GUERRE
LA
LIVRE
POUR
BAS
DES
GUERRE
LA
LIVRE
PAYS
POUR
D
GUERRE
ITALIE
LA
LIVRE
POUR
CARTES
DES
LIVRES
DE
PARIS
PLANS
COURONNE
D
DE
ESPAGNE
LA
LIVRE
SUCCESSION