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SECONDE PARTIE DE LA CRIMÉE, LA MER NOIRE &C. RECTIFIÉS PAR DIVERSES OBSERVATIONS, FAITES PAR GUILLAUME DE L'ISLE. A AMSTERDAM, CHEZ JEAN COVENS ET CORNEILLE MORTIER, GÉOGRAPHES. Altkolorierte Karte zeigt das Schwarze Meer. A scarce and attractive map embracing most of the Black Sea, one of the finest maps of the region made during the first half of the 18th Century, issued by the leading Amsterdam firm of Covens & Mortier. Author: Johannes COVENS & Cornelis MORTIER. Place and Year: Amsterdam, 1742. Technique: Copper engraving with original outline colour (Very Good, a strong and clean example), 49 x 61 cm (19 x 24 inches). Grenzkolorierter Kupferstich. Gut erhalten. This fine map features most of the Black Sea, which occupies the heart of the map. It captures the southern part of the Crimean Peninsula and, working clockwise, takes in the coasts of modern day Georgia; Anatolia (Turkey), including the famous trading centre of Trebizond; Istanbul and much of the Sea of Marmara; as well as the coasts of modern day Bulgaria and Romania. All major towns and landmarks are carefully represented in the attractive, clear style of engraving that was a hallmark of the Covens & Mortier firm. During the era that this map was made, the Black Sea was considered to be a virtual “Turkish Lake,” with the Ottoman Empire controlling virtually all of its shores. That being said, the Russian Empire was beginning to challenge Ottoman hegemony over its northern shores, although it would not be until the 1770s that she would consolidate enduring territorial gains. The innumerable Russo-Turkish conflicts kept the region at the top of the news in Europe for most of the 18th Century. Geographically, while the region as presented on the map is vaguely familiar to the modern viewer, its is not mapped with especially great accuracy, owing to the fact that Western Europeans seldom had the opportunity to reconnoitre the Black Sea. Indeed significant progress on the scientific mapping of the region would not be made until Captain Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen, a Dutchman in Russian service, conducted the first proper mapping of the Crimea in 1773. The present map was published by Covens & Mortier within their atlas Atlas Nouveau, contenant toutes les parties su Monde, ou sont exactement remarquees les empires, monarchies, royaumes, etats, republiques, &c.(Amsterdam, 1742). While the map is complete, in an of itself, it can be paired with the map Theatre de la Guerre Dans la Petite Tartarie, La Crimee, la Mer Noire, &c., which focuses on the Ukraine, to the north. Both maps are based on Guillaume De l’Isle’s 1720 maps of the region. The Firm of Covens & Mortier The present map was issued by the eminent map publishing firm of Covens & Mortier, which existed in various forms from 1690 to 1866. At the time that this map was issued, it was owned and operated by Johannes Covens I (1697 - 1774) and Cornelis Mortier (1699 - 1783). During much of the 18th Century, the enterprise was the Netherlands’ leading cartography establishment. The firm had its roots with Pierre Mortier (1661-1711), one of the most commercially successful map publishers of his time, who opened his own cartography enterprise in 1690. Operating in Amsterdam, Mortier benefitted from the Dutch Republic’s highly developed print market and liberal censorship laws. Mortier formed a partnership with his brother David, but maintained a dominant role in the relationship. Following Pierre Mortier’s death in 1711, his firm was maintained for a decade by his heirs. In 1721, the firm was rolled into the partnership of Johannes Covens and Cornelis Mortier. From its headquarters at the Vijgendam in Amsterdam, the firm issued numerous full feature atlases and separately-issued maps predicated on the latest sources, including those relating to current events such as the Ottoman-European Wars, including the Black Sea region. References: A. Gordyeyev & V. Bulatov, Cartography of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov: Retrospective. Period 1700-1800 (Moscow, 2007), no. 98 (p. 15); David Rumsey Map Collection (online): 4638.076.
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