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  Jean Baptiste Bourguignon D’Anville. “Amérique Septentrionale Publiée” (Paris:1755).  
DAnville, Amerique, 1755

To illustrate the cartography of the second half of the eighteenth century, a d’Anville map is essential.”
— R. V. Tooley

Jean Baptiste Bourguignon D’Anville. “Amérique Septentrionale Publiée sous les Auspices de Monsieur le Duc d’Orleans” (Paris: chez l’Auteur, c. 1755). Copperplate engraving with original outline hand color. Four sheets joined as two. Top sheet: 21 x 38 1/2" with full margins. Bottom sheet: 21 x 39" with full margins. Large title cartouche in l. r. features an allegorical figure representing the New World with indigenous animals: the alligator and the beaver. Minor toning to sheet edges. Fine.

Following the death of Guillaume Delisle, J. B. B. D’Anville continued the line of progressive French cartographers that had begun with Nicolas Sanson in the previous century. D’Anville’s exacting standards soon brought him international recognition as the finest cartographer of his time. He produced a number of elegantly engraved maps noted for their scholarship and accuracy. This impressive four-sheet map of North America is no exception and is considered one of the finest French maps of Colonial America produced on the eve of the French and Indian War.

The top sheet of the map features an area of the eastern United States from Newfoundland to northern Texas, including a well-detailed Rio Grande corridor in New Mexico. A large inset at upper left shows Hudson and Baffin Bays and Greenland attached to the mainland. Tooley notes that D’Anville’s “representation of the Great Lakes is superior” to that of his contemporaries. Additionally D’Anville’s treatment of the Mississippi and Missouri river valleys demonstrates the advanced knowledge of the French resulting from Jesuit activities along those waterways. The appearance of Ft. Duquesne at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers suggests a publication date of 1755 for the map. The French built Ft. Duquesne in 1754 in order to secure the Ohio River Valley from British advances, but lost control of the strategic area when the British attacked and destroyed the fort in 1758. The map continues southward on the bottom sheet to include the California peninsula, Mexico, Central America, and the northern tip of South America. Florida appears as a modest archipelago.

D’Anville’s maps were copied extensively by the English and other mapmakers, owing to the accuracy of their information. The present map offers an excellent example of D’Anville’s skills and is essential for collections of the Colonial United States.

Refs.: Lowry Collection, 381; Moreland and Bannister, Christie’s Antique Maps, pp. 132–133; Tooley, Mapping of America, pp. 316–317.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot