Michelot and Bremond

Plan de la Baye et Rades de Marseille (small scale)

Plan de la Baye et Rades de Marseilles et des environs Dediee a Monsieur le Grande Prieur de Frances General des Galeres

DESCRIPTION: Antique nautical chart of the Bay of Marseilles, France. Drawn by Henri Michelot, pilot of the royal galley for Louis XIV and XV. This large antique sea chart of the Bay of Marseilles would have been useful to coastal navigators such as those with the French Corps de Galeres. Extending from Cap Couronne past Cap Croisete to Morgiou the chart notes local water sources (galleys could only carry enough water for about two weeks), anchorages, and denotes a near-shore passage for the galleys near Cap Croisete: "Passage ordinaire des Galeres". The city of Marseille is shown surrounded by protective walls on three sides.

The authors' intimate knowledge of the area is confirmed by their location of several "madragues" around the bay (large anchored fish ponds or seines) that would have posed a threat to any fleet of coastal vessels operating in the area.

This chart is of special interest as Marseille the home bases for the galleys ( galère / galères ) of Louis XIV and XV as well as the home port for Michelot and Bremond. In the year this chart was published, 1720, the city of Marseille experienced an outbreak of "la peste", bubonic plague, that killed an estimated 40% of its population. The plague, spread from an arriving merchant ship, was one of the last great outbreaks in Western Europe. Perhaps it is coincidence but the location of both the Infirmerie Vieux and the Infirmerie Vielle in Marseille are indicated.

With a large beautifully engraved title cartouche by Starckman featuring Neptune with two overflowing horns-of-plenty.

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

CONDITION: Very Good  Very nice condition for its age with one or two tiny brown spots. Top has been professionally re-margined outside the neat line. Bright strong paper.


ENGRAVER: P. Starckman

SIZE: 27 " x 19 "


PRICE: $1875


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