Miniature view. Copper plate engraving with hand coloring. Image measures 6" x 4 1/4"
Miniature birds eye view engraving of Santo Domingo on the island of Hispaniola, the first settlement in the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492. This engraving renders the fortified settlement, with dwelling structures, trees, and ships along the coastline. The cloud-like banner at the top of the image reads "Le plan d l'Isle de San Jan de Pto Rico est dans la page precendete; Le plan qui est cy dessous de la Ville, de San-Domingo ou de St. Dominique. Siege d'un Archeveque, est la Capitale de l'Isle Hispaniola comme nous l'avons dit dans la page precendente." This impression is from the 1710 German edition of Mallet's "Description de L'Univers."
Allain Manesson-Mallet (1630-1706) advanced from his position of musket bearer under Louis XIV to eventually occupy the position of "maitre de mathematiques" to the French King. He was the author and engraver of "Description de L'Univers," a five-volume survey of the world that included maps of the ancient and modern world, star maps, illustrations of flora and fauna, and information on the customs, religion and government of the many nations included in the text. At the time, the text was the largest and most comprehensive work of its kind ever published. Intended to entertain its readers, Mallet's "Description" was a time capsule of the 17th-century world that captured and displayed it in all its splendor.