Catalogues: Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe

Laurent Bremont (French pilot) & Henri Michelot (French pilot)

Nouvelle Carte de

L’Isle de Malthe, 1718

Copper Engraving, Wove Paper

70 x 50cm (97 x 70.5cm in frame)

Provenance

-Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe, 1718 was recently purchased from an auction at R & J Gingell Littlejohn Auctioneers, Sliema, Malta in 2018 by Artemisia Fine Arts & Antiques Ltd.

-We know the map formed part of a local art collection prior to its purchase however further details are currently unavailable.

Figure. 1 Laurent Bremont and Henri Michelot

Figure. 1 Laurent Bremont and Henri Michelot, 1718, Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe, Copper engraving on Wove Paper, 70 x 50cm (97 x 70.5cm in frame)

 

Report Summary


Nouvelle Carte de LIsle de Malthe, produced in 1718 is a hand-coloured sea chart produced by French pilots Laurent Bremont and Henri Michelot (fig. 1). The chart represents the Maltese Islands namely Malta, Gozo and Comino and is dedicated to Chevalier Jean Philippe d’Orleans. It formed part of an atlas with sixteen charts and three detailed ship engravings. The chart aims to indicate the fortifications and ports around the three islands as well as provide navigators with details about depths along the shoreline.

The map is elegantly decorated and almost in perfect condition.

Price: €7,500 inc.VAT

Figure. 2 Le Chevalier Jean-Philippe d'Orléans (1702 - 1748),
Figure. 2 Le Chevalier Jean-Philippe d'Orléans (1702 - 1748), Grand Prieur de l'Ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem ou Ordre de Malte en France, Général des Galères
Figure. 3 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe (2)
Figure. 3 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing a cartouche paying homage to the Chevalier d’Orleans whilst also mentioning the makers of the map (top left register)

Report


Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe, 1718 by French pilots Laurent Bremont and Henri Michelot is a sea chart which represents the Maltese Islands namely Malta, Gozo and Comino. This decorative chart formed part of an atlas which included sixteen charts and three plates of ships that represent the various coastlines and islands around the Mediterranean (Appendix A).[1] The atlas, titled Recueil de Plans et Ports de la Méditerranée, is dedicated to Chevalier Jean Philippe d’Orléans (1702-1748) who is identified by the inscriptions on the cartouches of each map, which evolved throughout the years (fig. 2). The cartouche, top left of Our map, dated 1718, reads:

NOUVELLE CARTE DE L’ISLE DE MALTHE
DEDIÉE A MONSEIGNEUR
LE CHEVALIER D’ORLEANS GENERAL DE GALERES DE FRANCE
Par ces tres humbles serviteurs MICHELOT Pilote Real et Hydrographe des Galeres du Roy et BREMONT Hydrographe du Roy
et de la Ville  Avec privilege du Roy 1718

Translation: New map / of the Maltese Islands / dedicated to Monseigneur / Chevalier d’Orleans / General of the Galleys of France / — / By the humble servants Michelot Royal Pilot / and Hydrographer of the Galleys of the King / and Bremont Royal Hydrographer to the King / and the City / With privilege of the King / 1718.

The cartouche is exquisitely decorated with four nude figures who represent captured Muslim slaves accompanied by other war-related symbolism such as polearms, canons, shields and flags (fig. 3).[2] It is crowned with the coat of arms of Chev. d’Orleans, which has a number of symbols that help us identify his various titles. It is immediately clear from both the red and white cross (at the top of the field) as well as the eight-pointed cross (which both supports and hangs from the bottom of the shield) that a strong association between him and the Knights of St. John existed. It is known that Chev. d’Orleans was made Grand Prior of the Knights of St. John in 1719.[3] He was also General of the French Galleys which is indicated by the anchor at the base of the shield.[4] The shield is topped by a French crown a symbol used to denote a prince du sang (prince of blood) and indeed d’Orleans was the son of the Duke of Orleans, Philippe II .[5] The rest of the field is decorated with his family crest which includes three fleur-de-lis, denoting his French royalty, a label with three points and a baton in the centre of the field. Both charges do not appear to have any particular significance in this context.

It might be safe to deduce that the atlas was a popular one due to the fact that it was re-issued twice. Once in 1730 and later in 1802 when it was re-issued in English as The New Mediterranean Pilot by William Heather. [6] Despite the map’s popularity, very little is known about Laurent Bremond and he is rarely mentioned in the literature about maps. An inscription at the bottom of the map reads:

Sevendent a Marseille chez Laurens Bremond sur le Port au coin de Reboul

Translation: Sold in Marseille at Laurent Bremond’s in the port at the corner of Reboul.

Which seems to suggest that Laurent Bremond owned some sort of commercial outlet in the town of Reboul from which he would sell and distribute maps.[7] The information provided on the cartouche indicates that he was a royal hydrographer and pilot. More is known about the other pilot, Henri Michelot who seems to have been the more important and successful figure of the two. The cartouche mentions that he was also a royal hydrographer and pilot. The first maps he produced are dated to the late seventeenth century.[8] The map was engraved by engraver P. Starckman, of which very little is known about.[9]

 

Figure. 4 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe (2)

On the bottom right-hand side of the map there are two scales which read (fig. 4): ECHELLE DE 2 LIEUES DE FRANCE A 20 PAR DEGRE ECHELLE DE 8 MILLES D’ITALIE ET DE PROVENCE A 15 PAR DEGRE

 

Translation: Scale of 2 Leagues of France at 20 per degree / Scale of 8 Miles of Italy and Provence at 15 per degree.

Which proves that the map was designed to be disseminated among a wide audience with different needs. The map provides the reader with a great analysis of the islands’ basic topography, key landmarks and churches along with an extensive survey of fortifications and coastal features. In total, the map of Malta includes 44 ‘villages’ which each seem to feature a parish church and 37 fortifications, batteries and towers (excluding defence walls); in Gozo one can note 6 forts, batteries and towers (excluding defence walls) and 23 villages-these curiously do not have the standard chapel-town ideogram used on the island of Malta (Appendix B).[10] The key at the bottom left-hand corner of the chart aptly titled ‘Explication des Bateries’,

Figure. 5 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe (2)

Figure. 5 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the key titled ‘Explication des Bateries (bottom left register)

(Translation: Legend for the Fortifications) helps the reader navigate the map’s symbols.

The key outlines the following elements which are featured throughout the chart (fig. 5):

Nouvelles RedouTtes / Nouvelles Batteries } pour

defandre la Dessante

PetiTTES plages de Sables ou lon peut se debarquer

Les Ancres marquent les mouillages

Et les Chiffres la profondeur dEau quil y a en brasses

Translation: New Redoubts/ New Batteries – To defend the descent/ Small beaches of Sands where one can disembark/ The Anchors mark anchorages/ And the figures the depth of water that there is in fathoms.

As the key explains, there are numbers which indicate the various depths around the coastline in Brasses (fathoms), as well as landing places which are marked by dotted waters. Other interesting places apart from the fortifications and ports, such as the islands of Filfla and Manoel; the seventeenth century Wignacourt aqueduct and Verdala Palace (represented as ‘Jardin du Grand Maitre au Monte Verdalle’).

The map itself also includes an inset in the top right corner of the chart titled ‘Plan des ports de Malthe’ (Translation: Map of the Ports in Malta) which represents the Greater Valletta area, including the three cities and Manoel Island (fig. 6). Here, close attention is paid to representing the military architecture which includes Fort Manoel among other structures. As mentioned above, the atlas was reproduced on numerous occasions and its influence can also be gauged by the fact that map maker Joseph Roux used the inset as inspiration for his own representation of the same area on numerous occasions.[11]

Figure.-6-Detail-from-Nouvelle-Carte-de-L’Isle-de-Malthe(2)

Figure. 6 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the Inset which portrays the Greater Valletta Area (top right of the Map)

The language used in identifying locations on the map itself is also worthy of mention.[12] Old Maltese place-names form a fascinating study, and in the present map we find use of several place-names of Arabic origin which are reproduced on the map in their Latin orthographical rendering, for example, Khandac rumien for Hondoq ir-Rummien. These are intermingled with place-names of Italian origin, for example, Cita Vechia for Mdina, as well as, locations written in French, for example, Jardin du Grand Maitre au Monte Verdalle, for Buskett, which is, of course, to be expected in a map published in a French atlas. These linguistic variations are very much a reflection of the context and the time in which map was produced, and one should also keep in mind that in the early eighteenth century the Maltese language had not yet established itself with its own identity and its own orthography.[13]

Not unique to maps and their prints are the standard elements of the compass rose, sea monster and the hand-colouring finish. The compass rose being partially instructive and decorative would serve to aid captains navigate whilst out at sea thanks to their northward orientation, whilst as a decorative element, this symbol also serves to replicate the recurring themes of the fleur-de-lis (indicating north) and the eight-pointed cross of the Knights of St. John at the centre of the design. Rhumb lines emanate from the compasses and served as a guide for the ships (fig. 7).

The imaginative sea monster in the upper register of the chart contains no meaning, however as a decorative device it serves to fill in space that might not be so appealing if left blank, especially in such a decorative map (fig. 7). In fact, it was not uncommon for cartographers to include imagined decorative elements in maps to fill unknown space, particularly before the nineteenth century.[14] Curiously, this sea creature does not feature in the other maps which would have formed part of the complete atlas (Appendix A).

Figure.-7-Detail-from-Nouvelle-Carte-de-L’Isle-de-Malthe

Figure. 7 Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the Compass Rose, Sea Monster and Rhumb Lines

The last feature not uncommon to such maps and prints is the later hand-colouring. Other recorded impressions of the same map are both coloured and uncoloured (Appendix A). Colour added after the map’s completion date is common practice in the world of antique charts and should not be cause for alarm. [15] One slight issue concerns the colourist’s choice of colours for the Chev. d’Orleans coat of arms; instead of the blue background which should have been used, our colourist chose red (fig. 8)- nonetheless, great attention and a high level of sensitivity have been applied whilst doing this in order to not obscure the appreciation of the original design.

Figure. 8 Coat of Arms of Chev. D’Orleans

Figure. 8 Coat of Arms of Chev. D’Orleans showing the use of blue in the background rather than red

Condition Report

An analysis of this map points to it being in a very good condition. The plate marks of the original engraving are visible on the soft paper and tell of a high-quality plate with not many signs of wear or excessive use as seen from the sharp and crisp render. The paper too is in good condition. There are no tears or extensive areas of foxing and only slight discolouration consistent with ageing. Since the map was taken from an atlas it has a single fold-line which runs through the centre of the paper; not an uncommon feature in antique charts of its kind.

Artemisia’s Recommendations

Due to the print’s good condition it requires no immediate restorative intervention. Artemisia always recommends minimal intervention and always advocates reversible, professional methods of restoration. In this case we strongly recommend preventative measures as part of proper conservation where possible. Additionally, we advise for the map to be exhibited inside a controlled environment which receives minimal sunlight and is cleaned infrequently. Cleaning should only be carried out gently with a dry feather duster.

Appendix A – Recueil de Plans et Ports de la Méditerranée

Appendix B – Index of Place Names mentioned on Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe

Gozo-Coast and Inland

Map Place NamesModern Place Names (Where possible)
Cita de GozeCity of Gozo (Known as Citadella)
Isle du GozeIsland of Gozo / Ghawdex
Migiar SeiniMġarr ix-Xini
Id Galera
MigiarMġarr
F – Forte de Gorza
Ponta tal Zeoucha
Hagra tal Zeoucha
Khandac RumienĦondoq ir-Rummien
Hagriet l’halfa
C. RasescalaRas il-Qala
Barlet
CorotDaħlet Qorrot
F, V -Cala S. BiagioSan Blas – Sopu Tower (Torri ta’ Sopu)
Cala de RamlaRamla
F, V -Ilquebira
Pergola
F, V -Cala MazafornMarsalforn

 

Malta – Coast

Map Place NamesModern Place Names (Where possible)
MALTHEMalta
Castelo
CALA MARSIROCO
S Georgo
Berabusia
Cala Franca
F – Benisa
Ouyety Sacha
Elmara
Garhasan
Ouyet talsnuber
Hagrata
Calpgarip
Pietra negra
Ouies bein
† La Magdelena
Tasbamaria
Pietra nera
Balva talbatch
Ouyet daouxet
Ponta tal lahet
Ponta tal Bahria

 

F – ThamarTorri l’ Ahmar
Ponta Circava
F – Forte Nove
RamletGħadira (?)
Lgozier Elbiet
Tour de la hanac
Larhry
Pedora lhemar
Dacklep jsdilep
Cala Meleha
†La Madona
Hanadi
I. Selmone
Cala Misbrea
Cala de S. Paul qui est le leu de son naufrageSan Pawl tan- Nawfraġju
V – Milkt Bahn tasul
F – Fort S. Paul
F – Caira / Lair
Cala del SallinoSalini
F – Caly Benoarat
Cala dimarco
F- Bahareuhiar
Golfo de la Magdelena
Ponta Ridiea
S. Georgio
†Limercanti Vigna DispinolaSpinola Bay
IsoletaManoel Island
LapietaPieta
La Cita ValetaValletta
Cortino
Cotonera qui est progetéeCottonera
RicasoliFort Ricasoli
Ouyet Lgamiar
Blada BaydaBlata il-Bajda
CALA MARSA SCALLAMarsaskala
Tour de MarsascallaTorri ta’ Marsascala
Calla S. Thomas
Monsia
Le Camere
S. Laques
Egidier
Daelet
DilimaroDellimara
Malta- Inland
Map Place NamesModern Place Names (Where possible)
† C. MustaMosta
† Terre NascianNaxxar (?)
† C. BalzanoBalzan
† C. Garevre
Torre Falcha
† C. Nigret
Grotte de S. PaulSt. Paul’s Grotto
† S. Joseph Minda
† C. Paula
† BirmulaBormla
† S. Leonardo
† C. ZalbarĦaż Żabbar
† Paulla
† C. TarfiexĦal Tarxien
V – C. BirkakriBirkirkara
V – C. AasciakGħaxaq
† C. Millieri
† Kideri
† Tera CormiQormi
† Farmigi
† Tera ZibugiHaż Żeebuġ
C. Hidien

[1] The full atlas has been reproduced in Appendix A. Images sourced from: http://www.swaen.com/Michelot- Bremond.php.

[2] https://www.rarecharts.com/ShowDetail/Creator/Michelot-and-Bremond/Title/Nouvelle-Carte-de-lisle-de- Malthe-(Malta)/380 (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

[3] https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1746.html (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

[4] http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/old-master-british-paintings-evening- l13033/lot.48.html (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

[5] http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/old-master-british-paintings-evening- l13033/lot.48.html (Accessed 29.08.2018)

[6] Bannister, David, Moreland, Carl 1989 Christie’s Collectors Guides: Antique Maps 3rd edn. Great Britain: Phaidon – Christies Limited; 132.

[7] https://www.rarecharts.com/MichelotBremondBackground.aspx (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

[8] https://www.rarecharts.com/MichelotBremondBackground.aspx (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

[9] https://www.rarecharts.com/ShowDetail/Creator/Michelot-and-Bremond/Title/Nouvelle-Carte-de-lisle-de- Malthe-(Malta)/380 (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

[10] Refer to Appendix B for an index of place names mentioned on the map and their modern counterparts.

[11] The variations by Roux were analysed in an article by local map expert Albert Ganado. Ganado, Albert 2018 ‘Joseph Roux – Album Mediterranean of Sea Charts’ Malta Map Society Journal 1, 3 (February 2018), 20-33.

[12] For a more detailed analysis of Maltese place names see: See Wettinger, Godfrey 2000 Place-names of the Maltese Islands ca. 1300 – 1800 Malta: Publishers Enterprises Group (PEG) Ltd., ix-xlvi.

[13] Refer to Appendix B for an index of place names mentioned on the map and their modern counterparts.

[14] Blake, John 2004 The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts Singapore: Conway Maritime Press, 8.

[15] According to leading map connoisseur, Johnathan Potter, ‘…recent colouring on a seventeenth- or eighteenth- century map does not reduce its value provided that the colours used are in context with that particular map and have been properly applied.’ Potter, Johnathan 1992 Collecting Antique Maps: An Introduction to the History of Cartography London: Studio Editions, 19.

FigureDescription & Reference
Fig.1Laurent Bremont and Henri Michelot, 1718, Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe, Copper engraving on Wove Paper, 70 x 50cm (97 x 70.5cm in frame)
Fig.2Le Chevalier Jean-Philippe d’Orléans (1702 – 1748), Grand Prieur de l’Ordre de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem ou Ordre de Malte en France, Général des Galères
Fig.3Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing a cartouche paying homage to the Chevalier d’Orleans whilst also mentioning the makers of the map (top left register)
Fig.4Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the scale used (bottom right register)
Fig.5Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the key titled ‘Explication des Bateries (bottom left register)
Fig.6Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the Inset which portrays the Greater Valletta Area (top right of the Map)
Fig.7Detail from Nouvelle Carte de L’Isle de Malthe showing the Compass Rose, Sea Monster and Rhumb Lines
Fig.8Coat of Arms of Chev. D’Orleans showing the use of blue in the background rather than red

Web Sources:

https://www.rarecharts.com/ShowDetail/Creator/Michelot-and-Bremond/Title/Nouvelle- Carte-de-lisle-de-Malthe-(Malta)/380 (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

https://www.rarecharts.com/MichelotBremondBackground.aspx (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

http://www.swaen.com/Michelot-Bremond.php. (Accessed 29.08.2018)

https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.1746.html (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/old-master-british-paintings-evening- l13033/lot.48.html (Accessed: 29.08.2018)

http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/old-master-british-paintings-evening- l13033/lot.48.html (Accessed 29.08.2018)

Print Sources:

Bannister, David, Moreland, Carl 1989 Christie’s Collectors Guides: Antique Maps 3rd edn. Great Britain: Phaidon – Christies Limited; 132.

Blake, John 2004 The Sea Chart: The Illustrated History of Nautical Maps and Navigational Charts Singapore: Conway Maritime Press, 8.

Ganado, Albert 2018 ‘Joseph Roux – Album Mediterranean of Sea Charts’ Malta Map Society Journal 1, 3 (February 2018), 20-33.

Woodcock, Thomas, Robinson, John Martin 1988 The Oxford Guide to Heraldry United Kingdom: Oxford University Press; 20.

Baton (heraldry): a diminutive of the bend sinister, coupled at the extremities: used in England as a mark of bastardy

Brasses (fathoms): a unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 metres), chiefly used in reference to the depth of water

Cartouche: an ornate frame around a design or inscription

Charge (heraldry): is any emblem or device occupying the field of a shield

Chevalier Jean Philippe d’Orléans (1702-1748): was the illegitimate son of Philippe d’Orléans, Duke of Orleans. He was appointed Grand Prior of the Knights of St. John in 1719 and he was also General of the French Galleys

Compass Rose: a circle divided into 32 points or 360° numbered clockwise from true or magnetic north, printed on a chart or the like as a means of determining the course of a vessel

Controlled Environment: a designated zone/space in which various conditions influencing the physical state of an artwork/object are kept stable as part of a preventative measure for conservation; this might include (but is not limited to) decreasing sharp fluctuations in lighting, heating, contact and pollutants.

Field (heraldry): the background colour, fur or metal of the shield. It can be of more than one tincture if patterned.

Fleur-de-lis: Stylised flower based on lily or iris, seen in the French Royal Arms, and those born in England until 1801.

Henri Michelot (Unknown): was a royal hydrographer and pilot from Marseille, France. He enjoyed a long and prosperous career as a map-maker and is particularly known for his close association with the areas that he charted; the war-like iconography of the title cartouches on his later works, including depictions of captured Muslim slaves; and the influences of other historical events of that time such as the plague of Marseilles in 1720.

Label (heraldry): A horizontal bar, usually couped, and normally with three or five dependent points. A label of three points now normally notes an eldest son in the lifetime of his father.

Laurent Bremont: he was a royal hydrographer and pilot from Marseille, France.

Pilot: A person with expert local knowledge qualified to take charge of a ship entering or leaving a harbour.

Rhumb lines: an imaginary line on the earth’s surface cutting all meridians at the same angle, used as the standard method of plotting a ship’s course on a chart.

Sea Chart: also known as a ‘nautical chart’, is a graphic representation of a maritime area and adjacent coastal regions.