Fascinating set of 5 maps of California, showing the evolution of how California was mapped between 1604 and 1767.
The earliset map is (upper right corner) is based upon a manuscript map by Mathieu Neron Pecci, drawn in Florence in 1604. This map also forms the basis of a map popularized in 1770 by Rigobert Bonne. The second map is Nicholas Sanson's map of California as an Island, based upon his larger map of 1656. This map was probably the single most influential projection of California as an Island. The third map map (lower right) is a portion of Guillaume De L'Isles map of America, published in 1700. While not truly peninsular in nature, it was influential in the shift back toward depicting California as a Peninsula. The 4th map (upper center) is a portion of Fra. Eusebio Kino's map, generally credited with being the map which dispelled the California as and Island myth. Issued in 1705, the map is based upon Father Kino's overland expedition from the mainland to the top of the Gulf of Cortez. The 5th map is one of the most interesting and enduring maps of California and the Baja (left side). Initially issued by the Society of Jesuits in 1767, its was popularized by Isaak Tirion and was perhaps the most interesting of all maps of Baja California in the 2nd half of the 18th Century.
This map was one of 10 maps to appear in the Supplement to Diderot's monumental encyclopedia, one of the most influential and widely distirbuted works of the second half of the 18th Century. Diderot's goal was to examine and display the popular geographical conceptions of several different parts of the world where the knowledge of the region's geogaphy was still largely unknown and evolving. Other maps treat the Northwest Passage, Northeast Passage and the NW Coast of America, among other topics. A marvelous amalgam and an essential map for California collectors.
Didier Robert de Vaugondy (ca. 1723-1786) was the son of prominent geographer Gilles Robert de Vaugondy and Didier carried on his father’s impressive work. Together, they published their best-known work, the Atlas Universel (1757). The atlas took fifteen years to create and was released in a folio and ¾ folio edition; both are rare and highly sought-after today. Together and individually, father and son were known for their exactitude and depth of research.
Like his father, Didier served as geographer to King Louis XV. He was especially recognized for his skills in globe making; for example, a pair of his globes made for the Marquise de Pompadour are today in the collection of the Municipal Museum of Chartres. Didier was also the geographer to the Duke of Lorraine. In 1773, he was appointed royal censor in charge of monitoring the information published in geography texts, navigational tracts, and travel accounts.