Amér. Sep. Grand Lac de l'Esclave.
Phillippe Marie Vandermaelen
Published 1827, Brussels
Size: 18.25 X 20.75"
A rare map of the region surrounding Great Slave Lake located in today’s Northwest Territories. Great Slave Lake, named after the Slavey tribe of the Dene Nation, is the deepest lake in North America and was a vital artery in the fur trade exploited by trade companies such as the Hudson Bay Company the North West Company. This map was published in Phillippe Vandermaelen’s Atlas Universel and is considered one of the most detailed depictions of the area in the early part of the 19th Century.
Vandermaelen added notations that provide the viewer with topographical information as well as facts relating to the history, trade and production found in the described region. For example, we learn that the region is frequented yearly by native tribes along a route that furnished the fur trade depots located at Fort Providence ant the Northern end of Great Slave Lake and Fort Enterprise that borders Lad de l’Hiver.
Vandermaelen’s Atlas is considered a monumental work. In fact The David Rumsey Map Collection describes Vandermaelen’s Atlas as follows:
“This monumental work was the first atlas of the world with all maps on the same scale (and a large scale at that - about one inch to 26 miles) and the first lithographed world atlas. If all the maps were joined together they would form a globe of 7.75 meters in diameter (such a globe was made in Brussels). The maps were published originally in parts of ten maps each, beginning in 1825 and ending in 1827. Vandermaelen's maps are frequently misunderstood because each map is usually best comprehended in the context of its neighboring maps - the maps do not function well on their own, since they were all meant to be joined. Koeman states that "His atlases, although unique in concept and size did not possess that fine touch of cartographic style which make them attractive for a collector..." We strongly disagree - the graphic art of the maps must be appreciated in the context of lithography, a developing art at the time; as lithographs, they are very well done. For many of the areas depicted, these maps are the largest scale maps made at the time, and the most detailed (particularly in the American West). Maps are hand painted in outline color.”