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Eighteenth-Century French Atlas for Students

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18.     [ATLAS]. ROBERT DE VAUGONDY, [Giles and Didier], [Charles-François] Delamarche, and abbé [Louis Antoine Nicolle] Delacroix. Nouvel atlas portatif destiné principalement pour l’instruction de la jeunesse, d’après la géographie moderne de feu l’abbé Delacroix par le S. Robert de Vaugondy Géographe ord du Roi, de S.M. Polonoise Duc de Lorraine et de Bar, et de la Société Royale des Sciences et Belles Lettres de Nancy, et Censeur Royal. Paris: Chez de S. Delamarche, Géographe, Rue de Join St. Jacques, au Collége de Mtre. Gervais, 1790. [1-2, engraved title] 3-6 [engraved introduction], [4, engraved tables and lists], 52 folded copper-engraved maps with ornate cartouches, original outline color, engraved by J. Arrivet, E. Dussy, and Charles Dien; sheet size of maps: 27.8 x 30.7 cm; map sizes neat line to neat line vary: Approximately 24.2 x 21.7 cm to 24.5 x 40 cm. Folio (28 x 23.5 cm), contemporary tan sheep over tan mottled boards, spine with red leather label gilt lettered Atlas de Vaugondy, raised bands. Binding worn and rubbed (head and tail of spine chipped, corner bumped and most of leather corners missing, upper joint split (but holding), book block split between pages 4 and 5, interior generally fine, with occasional staining and foxing. Scattered contemporary ink notes.

Selected map list:

Mappe-Monde par le S. Robert de Vaugondy…1786…. World in two hemispheres. Showing Cook’s route. Map 1 in atlas.

Mappe-Monde ou Carte Générale de toutes les Parties connues de la Surface du Globe…. Early appearance of the United States of America and revised to show Cook’s discoveries. Color coding to indicate divisions by religion: Judaism, Christianity, Muslim, and paganism (the latter including Texas, New Mexico, and California). Map 2 in atlas.

L’Amérique par le S. Robert de Vaugondy…. Ornate cartouche including Native American headdress, arrows, and corn. Pedley 21. Map 42 in atlas.

Canada, Louisiane, États-Unis. Par Le S. Robert De Vaugondy…. Cartouche. Large inset of California, Nouveau Mexico, and Canada. The plate first came out in 1762 and went through several alterations. McCorkle lists three states, not including the present undated version which is between states 2 and 3 (cf. New England in Early Printed Maps, 762.3, 778.15, & 794.13). See also Pedley (449n) and Sellers & Van Ee (96). Map 43 in atlas.

Nouvelle Espagne Nouveau Méxique, Isles Antilles Par le S. Robert de Vaugondy…. Inset of Azores, ornate cartouche. See Pedley 481. Spanish possessions are the focus of this map, which includes Texas rivers and place names for Galveston Bay (B. de S. Bernard), R. Colorado de los Martyres, Casa Grande, Nouvelle Navarre (applied to the Mexico-Arizona Borderlands), Santa Fe, Albuquerque, etc. The Ceni, Apache, and other tribes are located, along with some missions and presidios. This map gives a different perspective of the relationship that exists between countries and islands surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. By delineating only the Gulf Coast regions of the North, Central, and South America the map highlights the trade routes and cultural ties linking the circum-Caribbean area. Louisiana, for example, appears as an integral part of this region rather than North America. Map 44 in atlas.

     The present atlas is a later edition of a popular work for teaching students geography. The first edition was published at Paris in 1762, with subsequent editions as late as 1811. Phillips (Atlases) does not list the present edition, although several others are noted (see 649, 3528, 4298, 5484). The majority of the maps relate to Europe, although there are interesting depictions of Asia and the Americas.

     Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1688–1766), also known as Le Sieur or Monsieur Robert, and his son, Didier Robert de Vaugondy (ca. 1723–1786), published one of the most important atlases of the eighteenth century (Atlas Universel, Paris, 1752), which combined older sources with contemporary surveys and corrected and verified latitude, longitude, etc. They credited their sources, which has greatly benefited the study of the history of cartography during that period. Their globes were state of the art. It is often uncertain whether father or son made a given map, but Gilles usually signed his maps “M. Robert,” and Didier signed his maps as “Robert de Vaugondy”, or added “fils” or “filio” after his name. In 1760, Didier Robert de Vaugondy was appointed geographer to Louis XV. Publisher Delamarche, also a father and son team, acquired the stock of the Gilles and Didier Robert de Vaugondy, and updated the present work.

     The engraving work is skillful and beautiful, and the atlas is entirely engraved, including the wonderful title page, so appropriate for an atlas meant to be used as a teaching tool for the young. Within an elaborate wide border embellished with flowers, drapery, swags, and cartographic devices (globe, surveying equipment, compass) are three delightful cloud- or sea-borne putti holding a large map of the world on which one of them is drawing.


Sold. Hammer: $1,100.00; Price Realized: $1,320.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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