Michelot and Bremond

Baye de Cadiz et Detroit de Gibraltar

Nouvelle Carte de la Baye de Cadis et du Detroit de Gibraltar, dediee a Monseigneur, Le Chevalier d'Orleans, General des Galeres de France. Par ses tres humbles serviteurs…

DESCRIPTION: From the perspective of this writer this antique nautical chart of Cadiz and the Strait of Gibraltar is the most important chart of the 16 large Mediterranean sea charts by Henry Michelot and Laurens Bremond . The chart bears the earliest date of any of the 16 that were published - 1718. Also, the large decorative title cartouche at the upper left is reflective of Michelot's rank and symbols of high status. Michelot describes himself as “Hydrographe et Pilote Real des Galères du Roy” (hydrographer and pilot of the royal galley for the kings galley corps).

The vessel depicted in the cartouche is clearly the "Reale" or Royal Galley (galère, Fr.) with three large stern lanterns. These distinctive lights served at night as a reference point for the fleet to follow. Above the galley, at the center top of the cartouche are the coat of arms of the French King surrounded on both sides by numerous banners and weapons including cannon and pikes. Perhaps the most unusual and significant decorative element is the two captive Muslim prisoners. Along with the opulent galley and other power icons the image of these near naked, chained ‘infidel’ captives would have been intended to demonstrate the map maker’s high status and authority to the map’s audience and as Petto points out, to reflect glory onto the map-makers patron to whom the charts were dedicated.

With an inset legend and a single large very decorative central compass rose and rhumb lines. Includes San Lucar de Barameda, Rota, Cape Trafalgar, Ceuta, Tangiers, Tarife (Tarifa) Gibraltar, Puerto Santa Maria and the hills of Medina Sidonia. Perhaps more than any other chart from the pair of Marseilles-based cartographers the numerous guard towers, soundings, and marked anchorages would have been important to the intended constituency for this chart- galley pilots and other coastal navigators of that period.

Henry Michelot and Laurens Bremond

Henri Michelot was an early 18th century French cartographer with a close connection to the sea. Michelot, self-described Hydrographer and Pilot of the Galere Royale or Royal Galley, was then part of a corps of approximately 40 galleys (galeres) or oared sailing vessels stationed in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic coast. In the Mediterranean, galleys were based primarily at the arsenal in Marseilles, France. Galleys were typically rigged with the triangular Mediterranean "Lateen" sail(s).

Bookseller and royal hydrographer Laurent Bremond "Hydrographe du Roi et de la Ville" sold charts and maritime books from his establishment in Marseille located near the port at the corner of Reboul street ( "au Coin de Reboul").

The output of Michelot and Bremond, from approximately 1715 through 1730 consisted of an atlas of 16 small-scale charts, a port book of 37 large-scale charts, and a coast pilot of the Mediterranean: "Portulan de la Mer Mediterranee, ou Guide des Pilotes Cotiers." Their work (the "Portulan" was published in several languages at least until 1805) and was a primary source of navigational information about the Mediterranean for years. The charts of Michelot and Bremond were often copied by others such as Kitchin and Roux.

CREATOR: Michelot and Bremond



BODY OF WATER: Mediterranean, Bay of Cadiz

CONDITION: Good.  Strong paper, no holes or tears. Clean and bright.


ENGRAVER: Probably P. Starck-man

SIZE: 27 " x 19 "


PRICE: $900


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