By: DESNOS, L.C.

Place / Date: Paris, 1760-1761,

Dimensions: 780 x 1080mm.

Condition : Good and dark impression, paper slightly browned. Minor paperloss on crossings of folds, carefully reinforced. Good and dark impressions. In good condition for such type of map.

Rare and decorative set of four wall maps published by Louis Charles DESNOS ( fl.1750-1770), all including a border with vignettes describing native scenes. Each panel accompanied by descriptive text. The border panels are made up of separate sheets. McGuirk has found for the American continent editions with dates of dated 1760, 1770, 1772 and 1781. So these are early editions.These wall maps represents the peak of French decorative cartography in the eighteenth century.

Amerique Septentrionale et Meridionale Divisée en ses pricipaux et subdivisée par audience Dressée sur les Memoires les plus recens et assujetie aux dernieres Observations Astronomiques par le PER et LC Desnos, Geographes Ingenieur pour les Globes et Spheres, rue St Jacques du Globe 1760. With a large “Mer de L’Ouest” or “Sea of the West”. Some minor paper loss in upper left corner and in upper center part.
Donald L. McGuirk in The Last Great Cartographic Myth Mer de l’Ouest (map 84) classifies the map as Rare and list four states of the map, dated 1760, 1770, 1772 and 1781.
Mer de l’Ouest labeled, “La Pretendue Mer de l’Ouest”. Title is in cartouche, lower left. There is a second title across the top of the map, “AMERIQUE SEPTENTRIONALE ET MERIDIONALE/ DIVISÉE EN SES PRINCIPAUX ET SUBDIVISÉE PAR AUDIENCE/…”.
The borders contain historical scenes of De Soto arriving in Florida in 1549, Floridians and Whaling fishing, Spanish arrival at Cuba, Murder of Baldivio and 20 of his companions at Jamaica, Gold sources in Guatemala, Inhabitants of Peru, Inhabitants along the River de la Plata, Murder of Pedro Gutiérrez de Valdivia or Valdiva, a Spanish conquistador and the first royal governor of Chile. Valdivia’s successor El Mozo Almagro, habitants in Peru, Andes Mountains, Cod fishing in Newfoundland, etc.

L’Asie dressée selon l’étendue de ses principales parties. . .
Surrounded by magnificent vignettes showing the different people of Asia. Each panel accompanied by descriptive text about China, Japan Tunquin, Siam, Malaysia, Georgie, Armenian, Emirates, India, Arabia, Moluccas and Turkish traders.
The great Jesuit surveys of China and the Far East revealed by d’Anville in his Nouvel Atlas de la Chine (1737) must also here have provided important sources of geographical materials. D’Anville rejected de Vries’ assumption that the coastline of Sakhalin was continuous with that of Hokkaido.
The wall map is of interest for the use of Mer de Corée

L’Afrique, Divisée selon l’étendue de ses principales parties et dont les points principaux sont placez sur les observations des mes rs de l’academie Royale des Sciences. / Dedié à Monseigneur Le Dauphin par son tres humble tres obeissant serviteur Desnos Geographes Ingenieur pour les Globes et Spheres 1760.
This map has in the lower part an inset of the the Castle and Fort at Cape of Good Hope. Engraved by H. van Loon.

L’Europe. Tous les Points principaux font placés sur les observations de Mrs de l’Academie Royale des Sciences en 1761.
The map is surrounded with insets showing little views of Stockholm, Budapest, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Moscow, London, Amsterdam and descriptive texts of France, Poland, Turkey, Greenland, Iceland, Nova Zembla, Lapland, Spain, Portugal, Russians, England and Holland.

Wall map hangs beside the finest paintings in the offices of prosperous merchants, in the halls of government and the homes of the wealthy. See, for example the paintings of Vermeer, where wall maps appear in a variety of settings. This work’s ornamentation exceeds the pictorial richness usually achieved on a map. As often with wall maps have suffered more than atlas maps and have the usual small repairs of splits and have missing areas. This matching set of 4 continent wall maps has some paper browning, but is generally in very good condition and still in original out line colour.

These wall maps represents the peak of French decorative cartography in the eighteenth century. ¤

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