Guillaume De L'Isle (1675-1726)
Guillaume De L'Isle was born in 1675 in Paris and by the turn of the century was the most prominent map-maker of the time. Having been taught geography by his father Claude, himself a geographer and historian, Guillaume is reputed to have drawn his first map at the age of nine and was viewed as a child prodigy.
His training in mathematics and astronomy led to a more scientific approach to map-making with a reliance on verifiable information in contrast to the earlier Dutch map-makers with their emphasis on aesthetic values. This rigorous scientific approach brought recognition and in 1702, two years after the publication of his first atlas, he was elected member of the Academie Royale des Sciences and in 1718 he achieved his greatest honour when he was appointed 'Premier Geographe du Roi'.
When he died in 1726 his business was carried on by his nephew Philippe Buache whose maps and atlases were more concerned with physical geography and was one of the first cartographers to attempt to map the undersea world.