History's Creative Cartographers | Calendar | Chicago Reader

History's Creative Cartographers 

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Lake Michigan is demarked as Lac des Ilinois, the Grande Nation des Illinois occupies the far western suburbs, and Checagou and the Rive de Checagou are somewhere in what's now northern Indiana in Carte de la Nouvelle France, a hand-colored copperplate engraving by Nicolas de Fer from 1718. Geographer to the king, the Parisian de Fer is credited with some 600 exquisitely rendered maps that today evoke the obsessive handicraft cherished in outsider art. "His maps are still popular, in spite of or perhaps because of their rather flamboyant decoration and even for their geographic errors," suggest English cartography experts Carl Moreland and David Bannister in Antique Maps: A Collectors Handbook. De Fer's work is on display, along with other maps from the late 15th to the early 20th century, in "World Views: Maps and Atlases from Home to Research Library," an exhibit of the art of cartography at the University of Chicago Regenstein Library's special collections department, 1100 E. 57th. It runs through December 31. Call 773-702-8705. --Bill Stamets

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): The Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.

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