“CENOMANORVM…LE MANS” Amsterdam: Willem J. Blaeu, c. 1635. Fine engraved map with original hand-coloring. Verso text: Latin.
This very attractive early 17th century map depicts the Northwestern Le Mans Region of France. Henry II, the first Plantagenet king of England, was born in Le Mans in 1133. Le Mans reverted to the French crown in the 13th century.
Most towns, cities, forests, and waterways are identified – including Le Mans, Alencon and Laval. The inset, upper right, provides the key for locating numerous abbeys, cathedrals, churches, monasteries and convents. The colorful title cartouche and decoration surrounding the inset of names further enhances the map.
Blaeu was founder of the leading 17th century Dutch cartographic firm. “The achievements of the firms of Blaeu were remarkable, & the palm for supremacy in map production in any age must be awarded to the Blaeu” (Tooley: Maps & Map-Makers, p. 33).