Nicolas Lenglet Du Fresnoy (1674 – 1755)
was a French scholar, historian, geographer, publisher and encyclopedist. He has studied theology but quickly left for diplomacy and politics. Afterwards he occupied himself only of his scholarly work, the result of which is a long bibliography. His books covered a wide range of fields and are characterized by great versatility and a high level of education. Biting and sarcastic, he had many enemies, of which he derived vanity, saying: „I want to be a frank Gaul in my style, as in my actions“. His love of independence and opposition to royal censors earned him, under Louis XV, amongst others five periods of imprisonment in the notorious Bastille. He died at the age of 80 after falling from his chair into a fireplace. In the literature on his personality there is no information about the engraver of the maps which are to be found in his numerous publications.
This map is taken of „Methode pour Etudier la Geographie“ by Lenglet Du Fresnoy, published by Rolin and de Bure, Paris, 1736. The title is printed in a rectangular cartouche in the lower right corner. The map is drawn to scale and shows Scandinavia, the Baltic region, „Moscovie“, Prussia („Prusse“), a part of Germany („Partie D‘Allemagne“, the Faroe, Shetland and Orkney Islands and most of Scotland, England, Ireland and Iceland. The Arctic Circle („C. du Pole Arctique) is marked on the whole map but much too far south in Iceland.
There only few place names along the coastline of the island and only two in the interior: Skalholt („Skalbolt“) and „M Helo“, which probably is Hekla.
Underneath the map of Iceland „I. d‘Islande apartient au Roy de Danemark“ (Iceland property of the King of Denmark) is written. Further two distance scales are placed.
COMMENT BY THE COLLECTOR
When I wrote the text about this map (No. 173) I suddenly recognized that I already owned a copy of it (No. 96). Normally I check this before I buy a map. In the description of the antiquarian the name of the author is written „Dufresnoy“. Therefore I searched for this name in my list of maps and my notebook did not find a map of him because in the text for No. 96 the name is written correctly („Du Fresnoy“). My conclusion was that I do not own the map offered to me and I bought it. Now there are two identical maps in the „Schulte Collection“.