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Chapter 14


In the turbulent times at the beginning of the sixteenth century a new king came to the throne of France, Francis I, young, ambitious and opposed at every turn to Charles V's designs to impose his will on Europe and the New World. Unable to obstruct Charles in Europe, Francis turned his attention to the New World and, in 1523, dispatched a Florentine seaman, Giovanni da Verrazano, to attempt to find a North West passage, followed a few years later by Jacques Cartier, who completed three voyages to the St Lawrence (1534-41) and staked France's claim to the lands bordering the great river. These discoveries were recorded on world maps made about 1544 by Pierre Desceliers, one of the leading figures of the Dieppe School of Cartographers which flourished in the years 1530-60.

Following the death of Francis I, France was plagued for half a century by religious wars of succession and a series of weak and unstable governments. Indeed, towards the end of the century Paris was in the hands of a revolutionary council and not until the Edict of Nantes in 1598 was any degree of stability achieved. In consequence, the orderly development of cartography which took place in Germany and England bypassed France until well into the next century . That is not to say, of course, that map production was entirely neglected. Apart from the work of the Dieppe map and chart makers, there were world maps by Oronce Fine and Andre Thevet which were copied by many cartographers and, some years before the issue of Waghenaer's sea charts, Nicolas de Nicolay, a widely travelled Frenchman, prepared navigational charts of many lands including one of the best maps to date of Scotland (1583).

The first printed national Atlas of the French provinces, the equivalent of Saxton's Atlas of the Counties of England and Wales, was produced in Tours in 1594 by Maurice Bouguereau, a printer and publisher, during the period of the Court's 'exile' there. The Atlas was not based on a general survey in the Saxton sense but was a collection of maps of different parts of the country made in earlier years and already produced by Ortelius and Mercator in their own atlases: it included only three maps published for the first time. Perhaps it is not surprising that this was the first national atlas published in France; printing there had a chequered historv in the sixteenth century and such was the religious intolerance that, at one stage, it was regarded as a form of heresy to the extent that printers were burnt at the stake. The best-known printer of the time, Christopher Plantin, a Frenchman, fled from this persecution in the 1540's to Antwerp, where eventuallv he set up the establishment which produced or sold so many Ortelius atlases and other maps by most of the notable cartographers of the day.

The new century brought great political changes and under the absolutist rule of Louis XIII and XIV map makers were granted a degree of royal support and patronage unknown elsewhere. By the last years of the century Dutch maritime power was in decline and France became the centre of geographical science, her cartographers producing the most advanced and beautiful maps of the time. The first great name of the period, Nicolas Sanson, born in the year 1600, founded a map-publishing business which, in the hands of his sons and grandson, was to prosper for well over a century. Their early maps are noted for the elegance of their engraving and in later years, when they were able to take advantage of new scientific mapping methods, for their clarity and accuracy.

In France, map making and publishing was dominated by a small number of family names, Cassini, Jaillot, Delisle, as well as the Sansons. Brief biographical notes and details of their more important publications are given on the following pages but the Cassini family deserve special mention. The first of that name, Jean Dominique, an Italian, was an astronomer and mathematician who, having settled in France, was appointed in 1669 by Louis XIV as director of the Paris Observatory then recently founded. He was responsible for new astronomical methods of determining longitude and with Jean Picard and others he initiated a new survey of the French coasts which was completed about 1681. At the same time his methods enabled other cartographers to re-draw the map of the world far more accurately than hitherto. The projected survey of France by triangulation to which all Cassini's efforts and ambitions were directed was constantly delayed and postponed by political and practical problems until long after his death but, in 1733, his son Jacques was instructed by Louis XV to begin the survey and by 1745 a preliminary map was available. The continuation of the project, which had become known as the 'Carte de Cassini' and was now in the hands of Cesar Francois Cassini de Thury, faced immense difficulties, not least the fickleness of the government in withdrawing financial support. Not to be deflected, Cesar Francois formed a company to provide the necessary backing and with assistance from local government in the provinces, the work continued and was practically finished in 1784 when Cassini died of smallpox. The 'Carte de Cassini' or the 'Carte de l'Academie', as it was also known, was soon completed and, after engraving on 182 sheets, was published in 1789 by yet another member of the family, Jean Dominique. The most ambitious mapping project attempted up to that time, this work of the Cassini family served as a model to the map makers of the rest of the world and was not replaced in France until 1878-89. Even before the great survey was finished, their influence was being felt in the development of cartography in other countries, not least in England. In 1783, just before he died, Cassini urged on the British Government the advantages of linking the Paris and Greenwich Observatories by his method of triangulation, a suggestion which, rather surprisingly, was accepted. In 1784, as part of the agreement, an accurate baseline on Hounslow Heath was determined on which a few years later a 'combined operation' across the Channel linked the two systems of triangulation, an operation which was not without complications caused by the conversion of the different methods of ground measurement used in each country. The same baseline served as the starting-point for the general survey of the British Isles, soon to be co-ordinated under the control of the Ordnance Survey Office, of which an account is given in Chapter 8.

Whilst the members of the Cassini family were concentrating on the mapping of France, other French cartographers maintained and, indeed, surpassed the standards of excellence set by Sanson and his successors in the previous century. Prominent among the new generation of scientific cartographers were Guillaume Delisle, whose maps of Africa and America were especially influential, J. B. B. d'Anville with notable maps of Africa and the Far East, Robert de Vaugondy (Atlas Universel, 1757) and L. Renard, J. B. d'Apres de Mannevillette and J. N. Bellin, famous for their sea charts. At the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth, the explorers Comte de Ia Perouse (1785-88), Louis de Freycinet (c. 1812) and others added to charts of the Pacific and the Australian coastline and Dumont d'Urville completed three voyages (1822-40) to New Zealand, and later issued a series of new improved charts of that country.


ORONCE FINE 1494-1555

Oronce Fine, a professor of mathematics in Paris, was the most prominent French cartographer in the sixteenth century. Apart from compiling one of the first woodcut maps of France, he is best known for his maps of the world on heart-shaped projections which were frequently copied by other cartographers, including Peter Apian and Mercator.

  • 1519 World Map: woodcut, single heart-shaped projection

1536, 1566 (Venice) Re-issued

  • 1525 France: woodcut

1536, 1557 Re-issued

  • 1531-32 World Map: woodcut, double heart-shaped projection

c. 1535, 1541 Re-issued

  • 1551 Le Sphere du Monde


A widely travelled Frenchman who prepared the first sea chart printed in France for his translation of the Art of Navigation by the Spanish navigator Pedro de Medina. He spent some years in England and, later in life, published an outline map, or chart, of Scotland which was the best available at that time. Ortelius used a map of Europe by Nicolay in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

  • 1544 Chart of the Coasts of Europe
  • c. 1554-69 Chart of the New World in the Art of Navigation: Paris and Lyon 1560 Reproduced in Venice
  • 1570 Map of Europe used by Ortelius
  • 1583 Scotland: Navigation du Roy d'Ecosse


Desceliers was one of the leading figures in the Dieppe school of cartographers which was active in the years 1530-60. He produced several world maps, now very rare.

  • c. 1546 World Map with emphasis on Jacques Cartier's exploration along the St Lawrence and in New France


  • 1575 World Map (woodcut) in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, and maps of the Continents published in La Cosmographie Universelle 1581 Re-issued


  • 1575 La Cosmographie Universelle de tout le Monde French edition of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia including map of the British Isles and a woodcut plan of London


Little is known of Bouguereau except that he was a master printer and publisher in Tours, for a time the seat of the French government. There, in 1594, he published the first national atlas of France, basing its contents on a variety of regional maps which had appeared during the previous half century. The atlas is extremely rare, very few copies existing in various states. It was re-issued in later years by J . leClercand J. Boisseau.

  • 1594 Theatre Francois 1620-31 Re-issued by J. le Clerc as the Theatre Geographique du Royaume de France 1642 Re-issued by J. Boisseau as Theatre des Gaules


One of the great French explorers, de Champlain was sent to 'New France' in 1603 to survey the areas discovered by Jacques Cartier in his voyages between 1534 and 1541 and to report on the possibilities of colonial expansion there. As a result of his many expeditions as far inland as the Great Lakes he produced splendid maps of the region which were models for cartographers for many years to come.

  • c. 1607 Description of the Coasts and Islands of New France
  • 1612 Map of the St Lawrence
  • 161 2-13 Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle France 1632 Re-issued in Champlain's Voyages de la Nouvelle France Occidentale showing the latest discoveries

JEAN LE CLERC 1560-1621

Engraver, bookseller and publisher in Paris and Tours, le Clerc may have been associated with Maurice Bouguereau in the production of the Theatre Francois in 1594, but whether that was so or not, he subsequently used the plates to republish the Atlas in 1620 under a new title. In addition to the maps of France, the atlas included a World Map, originally engraved by Jodocus Hondius in 1608 copied from Mercator's twin hemisphere map of 1595. He also issued in 1602 maps of Africa, America, Asia and Europe, engraved by Jodocus Hondius.

  • 1620 Theatre Geographique du Royaume de France 1621, 1622, 1626, 1631 Re-issued


Melchior Tavernier was a member of a large family involved in the publishing trade in Paris in the early years of the seventeenth century. He is probably best known for his publication of a map of the Post Roads of France which was copied many times until the end of the century. He also issued an atlas under the same title as J. le Clerc's Theatre Geographique, using many of Le Clerc's maps, but incorporating others from different sources. Apart from the maps noted below, he published works for other cartographers, including N. Sanson, N. Tassin, and P. Bertius. He is not to be confused with his nephew of the same name (1594-1665), who also engraved maps for Nicolas Sanson.

  • 1632 Carte Ceographique des Postes qui traversent la France 1658 Re-issued by N. Sanson
  • 1634 Theatre Geographique du Royaume de France
  • 1640-42 Description de Ia Carte Generale de Tout le Monde

Plate: FRANCOIS DE BELLEFOREST Des Isles de Bretagne, La Grand' Albion Paris 1575. Map of the British Isles published in La Cosmographie Universe//e, a French translation of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia; it was based on Girolamo Ruscelli's map published in the 1561 edition of Ptolemy's Geographia.

NICOLAS TASSIN fl. 1633-55

Tassin was appointed 'royal cartographer' at Dijon before setting up as an engraver in Paris where he issued various collections of small maps and plans of France, Switzerland, Germany and Spain.

  • 1633-35 General maps of Germany and the Swiss Cantons (4to)
  • 1634-44 Les Plans et profils de toutes le principa/es vi//es . . de France . . . du Pays des Suisses (4to)
  • 1634 Cartes genera/es et particulieres de toutes les costes de France
  • 1640-43 Cartes genera/es de toutes les provinces de France
  • 1655Cartes genera/es de Ia Geographie royale (miniature maps of the French and Spanish provinces) (4to)

JEAN BOISSEAU fl. 1637-58

Jean Boisseau was the last publisher to issue Bouguereau's Theatre Francois using yet another title, Theatre des Gaules, and adding a number of maps of other countries.

  • 1637 World Map
  • 1641-43 Nouvelle France
  • 1642 Theatre des Gaules
  • 1643 Tresor des cartes geographiques

ANTOINE DE FER fl. 1640-52

  • 1648 World Map
  • 1652 Plans des Villes de France

NICOLAS SANSON (father) 1600-67

NICOLAS SANSON (son) 1626-48

GUILLAUME SANSON (son) -d. 1703

ADRIEN SANSON (son) -d. 1708

PIERRE MOULARD-SANSON (grandson) -d. 1730

Sanson was born in Abbeville where as a young man he studied history, particularly of the ancient world, and it is said that he turned to cartography only as a means of illustrating his historical work. For this purpose he prepared a number of beautifully drawn maps, one of which, after his move to Paris, came to the attention of Louis XIII. In due course the King appointed him 'Geographe Ordinaire du Roi', one of his duties being to tutor the King in geography.

In the preparation of his major atlas, Cartes Generales de Toutes les Parties du Monde, Sanson employed a number of engravers, one of whom, M. Tavernier, engraved important maps showing the Post Roads and River and Waterway system of France (1632-34) and a map of the British Isles (1640). In all, Sanson produced about 300 maps of which two of North America were particularly influential: Amerique Septentrionale (1650) and Le Canada ou Nouvelte France (1656), the first map to show all the Great Lakes. After Sanson's death the business was carried on by his two surviving sons and grandson, in partnership with A. H. Jaillot.

It is generally accepted that the great age of French cartography originated with the work of Nicolas Sanson but credit must go also to A. H. Jaillot and Pierre Duval for re-engraving his maps, many still unprinted at his death, and re-publishing them in face of strong competition from the Dutch, who continued to dominate the market until the end of the century.

  • 1648-62 L'Europe, L'Asie, L'Afrique and L'Amerique en plusieurs cartes nouvelles (issues in folio, 4to and 8vo sizes) 1683 and other re-issues
  • 1654 Cartes Genera/es de Toutes les Parties du Monde

1658, 1664-66, 1667, 1670 Re-issued with increasing numbers of maps 1676 Re-issued under title Cartes Genera/es de Ia Geographie Anciennes et Nouvelles


A Parisian publisher and bookseller, Langlois produced a number of maps around the middle of the seventeenth century including one of the Post Roads of France based on the famous map published by Melchior Tavernier in 1632.

  • c. 1650 Post Roads of France

PIERRE DUVAL c. 1619-83

Son-in-law of Nicolas Sanson, Duval published a wide range of atlases, individual maps of the world and the continents and wall maps.

  • 1651 Tables geographiques de tous les pays du monde
  • 1653-55 Canada and America
  • 1658 Les acquisitions de la France par Ia paix 1667 re-issued
  • 1660-66 Maps of the World and the Continents
  • 1662 Cartes de Geographie (12mo)
  • 1670 Le Monde ou la Geographie Universelle (12mo) 1682 Re-issued
  • 1672 Cartes de geographie les plus nouvelles (folio) 1677,

c. 1688 Re- issued

  • 1677 La Geographie francoise
  • 1679 Les XVII provinces en Holland et en Flandres (12mo)
  • c. 1680 Le Monde Chrestien (12mo)

c. 1682 Geographie Universelle (12mo) 1691, 1694 Re-issued


A traveller and author of books on the early voyages of discovery, Thevenot produced some striking maps, perhaps not always his own work but no less interesting because of that. In particular, his map of Australia, the first by a Frenchman, showed the continent's uninterrupted eastern coastline and the latest information on Tasman's voyages.

  • 1663-96 Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, (Terre Austrate decouverte l'an 1644) Kingdom of the Great Mogul Issued in Relations de divers Voyages Cuneux
  • 1681 Recueil de Voyages including 3 maps, one of which was the first printed map to show the approximate course of the Mississippi and the name Michigan (Carte de la de'couverte faite l'an 1673)


  • 1667 Tresor des cartes geographiques des principaux estats de l'univers

Plate: NICOLAS SANSON Principaute de Galles. Map of Wales published in Paris in1658.


BERNARD JEAN JAILLOT (son) 1673-1739

BERNARD ANTOINE JAILLOT (grandson) d. 1749


After Nicolas Sanson, Hubert Jaillot and Pierre Duval were the most important French cartographers of the seventeenth century. Jaillot, originally a sculptor, became interested in geography after his marriage to the daughter of Nicolas Berey (1606-65), a famous map colourist, and went into partnership in Paris with Sanson 's sons. There, from about 1669, he undertook the re-engraving, enlarging and re-publishing of the Sanson maps in sheet form and in atlases, sparing no effort to fill the gap in the map trade left by the destruction of Blaeu's printing establishment in Amsterdam in 1672. Many of his maps were printed in Amsterdam (by Pierre Mortier) as well as in Paris. One of his most important works was a magnificent sea atlas, Le Neptune Francois, published in 1693 and compiled in co-operation with J. D. Cassini. This was re-published shortly afterwards by Pierre Mortier in Amsterdam with French, Dutch and English texts, the charts having been re-engraved. Eventually, after half a century, most of the plates were used again as the basis for a revised issue published by J. N. Bellin in 1753.

  • 1681 Atlas Nouveau 1689, 1691, 1692 and others, including issues by Pierre Mortier and Covens and Mortier
  • 1693 Le Neptune Francois 1693-1703 Re-issued by Pierre Mortier in Amsterdam with French, Dutch and English texts
  • 1695 Atlas Francois 1696, 1700 and many other editions
  • 1711 Liste Generale des Postes de France 32 re-issues to c. 1778


  • 1683-88 Description de 1' Univers

1686, 1719 Re-issued with German text


  • 1684 Le Petit Flambeau de Ia Mer (8vo) 1694, 1742 Re-issued 1801 Re-issued in English as The Little Sea Torch with corrections and additions by J.T. Serres (1759-1825) 


Apart from the fact stated on his map of Great Britain that he was 'Geographe du Roi' nothing is known of des Granges, not even his Christian name.

  • 1688 Germany
  • 1689 Royaume d'Angleterre, d'Ecosse et d'Irlande
  • 1702 Greece

JEAN BAPTISTE NOLIN (father) c. 1657-1708

JEAN BAPTISTE NOLIN (son) 1686-1762

J. B. Nolin set up the family publishing business in Paris in the Rue St Jacques where he engraved and sold a wide variety of maps, on some of which he wrongfully used the titles 'Engraver to the King' and 'Geographer to the Duke of Orleans'. On a complaint by Guillaume Delisle he was accused and convicted of plagiarism but his business continued to flourish. Many of his maps were based on the work of Vincenzo Coronelli, the Italian cartographer and of another French geographer, Sieur de Tillemon (Nicholas de Tralage). His most notable work was the publication in 1696 of a World Map on one sheet based on J. D. Cassini's 24-ft planisphere housed in the Paris Observatory. His son continued the business for many years and prepared an Atlas General which was published posthumously in 1783.

  • 1688-89 Maps of America and Canada
  • 1696 Planisphere terrestre (J. D. Cassini)
  • 1718 Nouvelle edition du theatre de Ia guerre en Italie
  • 1720-56 (son) Maps of the Continents in various editions
  • 1783 (son) Atlas General

NICOLAS DE FER 1646-1720

Cartographer, engraver and publisher, Nicolas de Fer issued altogether rather more than 600 separate maps, including atlases, sheet maps and large wall maps. It has been said that he aimed at quantity rather than quality but he gained a great reputation in his lifetime and was appointed Geographer to the King. Today his maps are still popular, in spite of' or perhaps because of, their rather flamboyant decoration and even for their geographical errors.

  • 1690 Les Cotes France
  • 1693 La France triomphante sous le regne de Louis te grand (6 sheets)
  • 1693-97 Les Forces de l'Europe ou descriptions des principales villes c. 1702 Re-issued by Pierre Mortier c. 1726 Re-issued by Pieter van der Aa
  • 1695 Atlas Royal 1699-1702 Re-issued
  • 1697 Petit et Nouveau Atlas (4to)
  • 1698 P/usieurs Cartes de France aves les routes et le plan de principales villes

1726, 1730, 1756, 1760, 1763 Re-issued

  • I700-05 Atlas curieux: 2 parts: oblong folio 1717 Re-issued
  • 1700 Les Postes de France et d'Italie 1728, 1760 Re-issued
  • 1705 Le Theatre de la guerre aux environs du Rhein
  • 1709 Atlas ou Recueil de Cartes Geographiques
  • c. 1717 Introduction a la Geographie (8vo)


Of Italian parentage, Cassini studied in Genoa and graduated there with honours in theology and law. By chance he became interested in astrology which led him to take up astronomy and mathematics, and at the age of twenty-five his remarkable ability in these subjects prompted his appointment to the Chair of Astronomy at Bologna University. His fame there brought him numerous commissions from the Papal Office and provincial Senates to carry out surveys in various parts of Italy. Eventually his name came to the attention of Louis XIV of France who was seeking a scholar of Cassini's eminence to direct the Paris Observatory; in due course, Cassini accepted the appointment and became a French citizen. There he introduced new astronomical methods of determining longitude and, in company with Jean Picard and others, established an accurate meridian of Paris on the basis of which a new survey of the French coasts was put in hand and completed about 1681. The World Map (1696) engraved by J. B. Nolin, based on Cassini's 24-ft diameter planisphere housed in the Paris Observatory is regarded as the first scientific map of the world. His work was continued by his son, Jacques Cassini de Thury, and grandson, Cesar Francois Cassini de Thury.


Plate: MELCHISEDECH THEVENOT Northern India Paris 1663. Map of the Kingdom of the Great Mogul included in Thevenot's Relations de divers Voyages Curieux published in Paris, and derived from an earlier map by William Baffin, the English navigator, issued in 1619.

  • 1696 Planisphere Terrestre (J . B. Nolin) 1703 Re-issued by Cornelis Danckerts

CLAUDE DELISLE (father) 1644-1720

GUILLAUME DELISLE (son) 1675-1726

SIMON CLAUDE DELISLE (son) 1675-1726


LOUIS DELISLE (son) fl. c. 1720-45

The Delisle (de L'Isle) family followed the Sansons as a major influence in the development of French cartography at the very beginning of the eighteenth century at a moment when Dutch publishers were finally losing their control of the map trade. Like Nicolas Sanson, Claude Delisle was a geographer and historian and had four sons, all of whom made their mark in the life of the time, but Guillaume was the most remarkable member of the family. Said to have drawn his first map at the age of nine he was elected a member of the Academie Royale des Sciences by the time he was twenty-seven; later he was appointed to the highest honour as 'Premier Geographe du Roi'. His critical approach to the maps of his predecessors, backed by his training in mathematics and astronomy under J. D. Cassini, earned him early recognition as the 'first scientific cartographer' and the foremost geographer of his age. His maps were re-published long after his death in 1726.

Two of his brothers, Joseph Nicolas and Louis, spent many years in the service of Peter the Great in Russia where they organized a school of astronomy and carried out extensive surveys in areas hitherto hardly visited.

  • c. 1700 (Guillaume) Atlas de Geographie 1707, 1708, 1718 Re-issued c. 1730-c. 1774 Re-issued as Atlas Nouveau by Covens and Mortier, Amsterdam 1740-50 Re-issued as Atlante Novissimo in Venice
  • c. 1703 (Guillaume) Carte du Mexique et de la Floride. et des Environs de la Riviere de Mississipi The first printed map to show in detail the course of the Mississippi and the routes of its explorers
  • 1718 (Guillaume) Carte de la Louisiane et du Mississipi 1730 Re-issued by Covens and Mortier
  • 1745 (Joseph Nicolas) Atlas Russicus (large folio): St Petersburg
  • 1757 (Joseph Nicolas) Atlas Universel

DANIEL DE LA FEUILLE (father) 1640-1709

JACOB DE LA FEUILLE (son) 1668-1719

PAUL DE LA FEUILLE (son) 1688-1727

Daniel de la Feuille, a Frenchman from Sedan, settled in Amsterdam about 1683 and built up a business there as an engraver, art dealer and book and map publisher. The maps listed below were published in Amsterdam.

Daniel de Ia Feuille

  • 1702 Atlas portatif ou le theatre de la guerre en Europe 1706 and later re-issues in Dutch and German
  • 1706 Oorlogs tabletten Les Tablettes Guerrieres The Military Tablettes

1707-29 Various re-issues in Dutch, French and English

Jacob de Ia Feuilte

  • c. 1710 Atlas (a collection of over 100 maps by Dutch and French cartographers)


The Atlas Historique published by Chatelain was part of a major work of its time, an encyclopaedia in seven volumes, including geography as one of its main subjects. The text was by Nicholas Gueudeville and the maps by Chatelain. The Atlas included one of the finest maps of America (4 sheets) surrounded by vignettes and decorative insets.

  • 1705-20 Atlas Historique: Amsterdam (maps by Chatelain based on G. Delisle)

Further issues to 1739


  • 1705-20 Atlas Historique: Amsterdam (maps by Henri Chatelain) Further issues to 1739
  • 1713 Le Nouveau Theatre du Monde: Leyden (published by Pieter van der Aa)


  • 1710 Hydrographia Gallia (The Sea Coasts of France) 

LOUIS RENARD fl. 1715-39

  • 1715 Atlas de Ia Navgation et du Commerce: Amsterdam 1739, 1745 Re-issued by R. and J. Ottens: Amsterdam


  • c. 171 8 Ports et Rades de la Mer Mediterranee 1730 Re-issued 1802 Re-issued in English by Wm Heather as The New Mediterranean Pilot


  • 1719 Nouveau Atlas Francais (8vo)
  • c. 1719 Le Nouveau et cuneux Atlas geographique et historique

Plate: GUILLAUME DELISLE Carte de l'Isle de Ceylan Paris 1722. A good example of the elegant maps published by the Delisle family.



Following the death of Guillaume Delisle, D'Anville continued the line of progressive French cartographers which had begun with Nicolas Sanson in the previous century. He is said to have designed his first map at the age of fifteen and in a long and active life he produced a great number of elegantly engraved maps, noted for their scholarship and accuracy. If anything, he was even more critical of the work of his predecessors than Delisle and his exacting standards soon brought him international recognition as the finest cartographer of his time. In fact, during his whole life he never travelled outside Paris but he built up a vast collection of cartographic material which eventually was passed to the Bibliotheque Nationale. He was specially interested in the geography of the East and he designed maps for a Description geographique de Ia Chine by Pere J. B. du Halde (1735), a notable work of the day based on surveys and reports of Jesuit missionaries. These maps were also issued in Nouvel Atlas de Ia Chine in 1737 and were the first to give a reasonably accurate picture of that remote land. From about 1740 onwards he published collections of maps under the title Atlas Generate which went through numerous expanding editions in various languages; English editions were printed by Robert Sayer, Laurie and Whittle, and others into the next century.

  • 1719 France
  • 1727 L'Ethiopie Orientale
  • 1735 Maps for Description geographique de Ia Chine by J. B. du Halde
  • 1737 Nouvel Atlas de la Chine
  • c. 1740 Atlas Generale Numerous re-issues in various languages
  • 1746-61 Maps of the Continents and the World

North America (1746), South America (1748), Africa (1749), Asia (1751), World(1761). Numerous re-issues

  • 1769 Geographie Ancienne et Abregee 1775, 1810 Re-issues in French 1775-1820 Six re-issues by Laurie and Whittle


  • 1733Nouvelle Geographie

HENRI DU SAUZET fl. 1734-39

  • 1734-38 Atlas de poche Atlas portatief Pocket atlases in two different versions
  • 1739 Plans of European Cities


  • 1735Description geographique de la Chine (maps designed by J. B. B. d'Anville) 1738-41 English edition Maps re-issued in '737 in Nouvel At/as de Ia Chine by d'Anville


Cartographer and publisher who succeeded his relative, Guillaume Delisle. He re-published many maps by Delisle and Jaillot but his own maps were not noted for their accuracy; in particular he let his imagination run riot on those of Australia and the South Seas. He was better known for his theoretical work on the physical aspects of geography, especially relating to mapping of the submarine world and devising methods of indicating underwater contours.

  • 1739 Maps of Australia and the Southern Hemisphere
  • 1745 (G. Delisle) Carte d'Amerique
  • 1753-55 Nouvll/es Decouvertes au Nord Amerique
  • 1754 Cartes et Tables de la Geographie Physique
  • 1762 Atlas Geographique et Universelle
  • 1769-99 Atlas Geographique de Quatre Parties du Monde

GEORGE LOUIS LE ROUGE fl. c. 1740-80

A military engineer by profession, le Rouge took up cartography and over a long period from about 1740 to 1780 produced many attractive works covering a wide range of subjects including plans of fortifications, military campaigns, town plans as well as the more usual atlases and sea charts.

  • 1741-62 Atlas General
  • 1742 Recueil des Cartes Nouvelles (including a reissue on reduced scale of Henry Popple's map of America of 1733)
  • 1748 Atlas Nouveau Portatif (4to) 1756, c. 1767 Re-issued
  • 1755 Recueil des Plans de l'Amerique (8 vo)
  • 1756 Introduction de Geographie
  • 1758 Atlas Prussien
  • 1759 Recueil des Villes, Portes d'Angleterre (8vo)
  • 1760 Topographie des Chemins d'Anl/eterre (8vo)
  • 1760 Recueil des fortifications, forts et ports de mer de France (8vo)
  • 1778 Atlas Ameriquain Septentrional
  • 1778 Pilote Americain Septentrional


  • 1742 Nouvel Atlas geographique et historique -folding maps: average size 165 x 215 mm

JACQUES CASSINI DE THURY (father) 1677-1756



Elsewhere in this chapter we have set out in some detail the leading part played by the above-named descendants of the first Jean Dominique Cassini in compiling the geometrical and topographical surveys of France which occupied so much of the eighteenth century. Here it will suffice to summarize their publications.

  • 1744-45 Descriptions Geometrique de Ia France
  • 1789-91 Atlas National de France: also known as 'Carte de Cassini' or 'Carte de l'Academie'
  • 1818 Atlas topographique, mineralogique et statistique de Ia France


Born in Le Havre of a seafaring family d'Apre's de Mannevillette had a long and distinguished career as a navigator and one of the first French hydrographers. After studying mathematics in Paris, he gained early experience of the sea in a voyage at the age of nineteen to the Caribbean. During many subsequent voyages he assembled a collection of material for a projected hydrographic atlas which, with the support of the Academie des Sciences, was published in Paris in 1745 under the title Le Neptune Oriental. In spite of the popularity of the first issue, it failed to satisfy the author and he spent nearly thirty years, often with the assistance of his friend, Alexander Dalrymple, the English hydrographer, in the preparation of a revised and enlarged edition which eventually was issued in 1775.

  • 1745 Le Neptune Oriental 1775 Re-issued in expanded form
  • 1781 Supplement au Neptune Oriental 1821 Re-issued
  • 1795 The East India Pilot (Laurie and Whittle, London)
  • 1797 The Oriental Pilot (Laurie and Whittle, London)

Plate: GEORGE LOUIS LE ROUGE L'Ecosse. Map of Scotland published in the Atlas General in Paris c. 1746, a re-issue of a map by Bowles (London), 1735.


Bellin spent over fifty years at the French Hydrographic Service where he was appointed the first 'Ingenieur hydrographe de La Marine'. During his term of office there he was commissioned to carry out major surveys, first of the coasts of France and later of all the known coasts of the world. These tremendous undertakings resulted in the production of a very large number of sea charts of the highest quality which appeared in many editions with varying numbers of charts to the end of the century. He was appointed 'Hydrographer to the King' and was a member of the Royal Society in London.

  • 1747-61 Maps for Prevost's L'Histoire Generale des Voyages
  • 1751 Atlas Maritime
  • 1753 Neptune Francois Numerous re-issues
  • 1755 Partie occidentale et orientale de la Nouvelle France, ou du Canada
  • 1756-65 Hydrographie Francoise: 2 volumes Numerous re-issues to 1802
  • 1757 Guiana
  • 1757 Essai geographique sur tes Isles Britanniques
  • 1764 Petit Atlas Maritime: 5 volumes (4to)
  • 1769 Corsica
  • 1771 Gulf of Venice
  • 1773 Charts of the Caribbean



The Robert de Vaugondys were descended from the Nicolas Sanson family through Sanson's grandson, Pierre Moulard-Sanson; from him they inherited much of Sanson's cartographic material which they combined with maps and plates acquired after Hubert Jaillot's death in 1712 to form the basis for a very beautifully produced Atlas Universel. The old material was much revised and corrected with the addition of many new place names. The elder Robert de Vaugondy, Gilles, is also known as Le Sieur or Monsieur Robert.

  • 1748-49 Atlas Portatif (small 4to)
  • 1756 Pacific Ocean: maps for Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes (Charles de Brosses)
  • 1757 Atlas Universel 1783, 1793 Re-issued
  • 1761 (Didier) Parte de l'Amerique septentrional
  • 1762 Nouvel Atlas Portatif (small folio) 1771-1813 re-issued


  • c. 1750 The World and its Continents


  • 175 1 Atlas de geographie ancienne et moderne
  • 1756 L'Histoire militarie de Flandre (1690-94)
  • 1765 Carte d'Allemagne

ROBERT (?JEAN) JANVIER fl. 1746-76

A French cartographer who worked in Paris from about 1746. There is some confusion about his Christian name but his maps usually bore the inscription 'Le Sieur Janvier'. In addition to work published under his own name by Jean Lattre in Bordeaux and C. F. Delamarche in Paris, he collaborated with other cartographers and publishers in producing a considerable number of maps, many of which were used in general atlases by William Fadan, P. Santini and others

  • 1751 Map in Atlas de Geographie ancienne et moderne by Jean de Beaurain
  • 1751 (with S. G. Longchamps) Map of France
  • 1754 ( do ) Map of America
  • 1759 Les Isles Britanniques 1779, 1791 Re-issued
  • c. 1760 Maps of the World, the Continents and France and Germany 1762 Re-issued on a reduced scale in Atlas Moderne 1763 Re-issued in Atlas abrege et portatif by P.M. Gourne
  • 1762 Atlas moderne ou Collection de Cartes 1771 Re-issued
  • 1772 Map of America
  • 1776-84 Maps in Atlas Universe/by P. Santini


  • 1751 Atlas geographique et militaire de Ia France
  • 1758 Atlas topographique et militaire
  • 1758 Nouveau theatre de la guerre d'Allemagne
  • 1768 Le Theatre du Monde including maps of the world and the continents by Gaspar Bailleul

Plate: JACQUES NICOLAS BELLIN Is/and of Guernsey Paris 1757. Over half a century Bellin produced an immense number of beautifully engraved charts, of which this is a good example published in the Neptune Francois (Detail).


  • 1755 Atlas methodique 1775 Re-issued
  • 1755 Carte des Possessions Angloises et Francoises d'Amerique septentrionale
  • 1769 A General Atlas of New and Current Maps published in London by Carrington Bowles c. 1794 Re-issued
  • 1775-80 Bowles Universal Atlas, published in London by Carrington Bowles

LOUIS BRION DE LA TOUR fl. 1756-1803

Beyond the fact that Brion de Ia Tour was an engineer by profession and held the post of Ingenieur-Geographe du Roi, little is known of his career. He published a wide range of statistical works and a number of atlases, of which the following are the most important:

  • 1756 Cartes des Places Fortes et des Principaux Ports des Isles Britanniques
  • 1757 Cotes Maritimes de France
  • 1766 Atlas Itineraire Portatif (8vo)
  • 1766 Atlas General 1776, 1786 Re-issued
  • 1795 Description generale de l'Europe etc (4to)
  • 1803 Atlas geographique et statistique de la France (4to)


  • 1761 Atlas methodique et elementaire de geographie et d'histoire 1783 Re-issued
  • 1762 Atlas Historique et Geographique


See entry under Denmark


RIGOBERYBONNE c. 1729-c. 1795

As Royal Hydrographer, Bonne's principal interest lay in the production of marine charts but he issued a number of other works, often including maps by fellow cartographers. He also provided maps for a notable atlas by Guillaume Raynal and for an Historical Atlas and Encyclopaedia published in association with Nicolas Desmaret (1725-1805).

  • 1762 Atlas Maritime (folio) 1778 Re-issued (8vo)
  • 1764 Petit Tableau de France
  • 1776 Atlas Moderne (4to)
  • 1780 Maps for Atlas de toutes les parties connues du globe terrestre by Guillaume Raynal (4to)
  • c. 1783 Atlas Portahf
  • 1783 (with Nicolas Desmaret) Atlas de geographie ancienne
  • 1787-88 (with Nicolas Desmaret) Atlas encyclopedique 1827 Re-issued


Cartographer and engraver whose work included maps of the post roads of France and street plans of Paris.

  • 1764 Atlas geographique
  • 1768 Guide des voyageurs - Post Roads of France
  • 1770 Atlas de Normandie
  • 1774 Routes de Paris
  • 1779 Theatre de la Guerre en Amerique
  • 1781 Plan Geometral . . . de Gibraltar

JOSEPH ROUX fl. 1764

  • 1764 Carte de la Mer Mediterranee
  • 1764 Recueil des principaux plans des ports et rades

de la Mer Mediterranee (8vo) 1779, 1804 Re-issued 1817 Re-issued in expanded form by Jean-Joseph Allezard (fl. 1795-1817)


  • 1767 Geographie Moderne 1780, 1787, c. 1793 Re-issued
  • 1776-93 Maps of the Continents


A professor of History at the Academie Royale, Angers, de Pretot published two atlases containing decorative maps engraved by some of the most notable craftsmen of the time.

  • 1768 Cosmographie Universelle
  • 1787 Atlas universel (4to)


  • 1773 Atlas portatif 1775-80, 1783 Re-issued as Atlas de toutes les parties connues du globe terrestre (Rigobert Bonne)
  • 1780 Atlas des Deux Indes


A cartographer and engraver, active in London in association with the Bowles familv and William Faden with whom be published a number of maps of America and Africa.

  • c. 1781-89 A Map of North America and the West Indies
  • 1782 Dutch Colony of the Cape of Good Hope by W (published by W. Faden)

1795 Revised edition 1825-38 Revised and published by James Wyld

  • 1803 Africa (published by W. Faden) 1823-60 Various editions, revised and published by James Wyld, the Elder and the Younger


  • 1788 Atlas de Ia Monarchie Prussienne
  • 1790-1811 (with Pierre Gregoire Chanlaire) Atlas National de Ia France
  • c. 1797 (with Pierre Gregoire Chanlaire) Atlas Universel 1807 Re-issued
  • 1798 Atlas Elementaire
  • c. 1804 Atlas des tableaux et cartes


  • 1790-1811 (with Edme Mentelle) Atlas national de Ia France
  • 1792 (with Dumez) Atlas portatif de la France
  • c. 1797 (with Edme Mentelle) Atlas Universel 1807 Re-issued
  • 1802 Nouvel Atlas de la France


  • 1792-93 Charts included in Neptune des Cotes Orientales et du Grand Archipel d'Asie
  • c. 1796 Atlas de Ia Mer Baltique
  • 1807 Atlas du Voyage de Bruny-d'Entrecasteaux
  • 1822 Pilote Francaise (Environs de Brest)


Successor to Robert de Vaugondy family, many of whose maps he republished.

  • 1794 Tableaux Geographiques
  • 1795 Institutions geographiques ou description generale du globe terrestre
  • 1797 Atlas d'Etude
  • 1806 Nouvel Atlas portatif
  • 1820 Atlas elementaire


Noted explorer whose attempted round-the-world voyage in 1785-88 ended in disaster in the Pacific. The fate of the expedition was not established until 1825 .

  • 1797 Voyage de Ia Perouse autour du Monde 1798 English edition

PIERRE LAPIE 1777-1851


  • 1811 (Alexander) French Empire 1813 Re-issued
  • 1812 (Pierre) Atlas classique et universel
  • 1829 (joint) Atlas Universel de Geographie ancienne et moderne1837, 1841 and other re-issues
  • c. 1848 (Alexander) Atlas Militaire


  • c. 1812 Voyage de descouvertes aux Terres Australes (4to) 1824 Re-issued
  • 1824 Voyage autour du Monde Further re-issues


  • c. 1813 Atlante storico, geografico: Florence
  • 1826 Atlas historico Further editions in Italian, French, German and English (Le Sage's Historical Atlas)


  • 1816 Grand Atlas universel
  • c. 1821 Atlas de France 1826 Re-issued
  • 1826 Atlas Universel Re-issued to 1 846
  • c. 1826 Atlas classique de Geographie ancienne et moderne. Further editions

A. LORRAIN fl. 1836

  • 1836 La France et ses Colonies


  • c. 1838 L'Atlas National Illustre 1847 and later editions
  • c. 1840 Pacific Ocean


French geographer, navigator and naturalist who carried out three voyages of exploration to Australia and New Zealand between 1822 and 1840. The following accounts of the voyages included a large number of new maps and charts of those lands.

  • 1833 Voyage de Ia Corvette Astrolabe
  • 1834 Voyage pittoresque autour du monde
  • 1841-54 Voyage au Pote Sud et dans l'Oceanie

Specialist References

BAGROW, L., History of Cartography

CARTES ET FIGURES DE LA TERRE, many examples of early world and French Maps

FORDHAM, SIR GEORGE, Studies in Carto-bibliography Although originally issued in 1914, this is still a valuable reference book

LIBAULT, A., Histoire de Ia Cartographie

Concise history of cartography with special emphasis on French mapping

THEATRUM ORBIS TERRARUM NV, Bouguereau: Le Theatre Francois

Reproduction of complete atlas

TOOLEY, R. V., Maps and Map Makers

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