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Description

Scarce French edition of Montressor's map of Manhattan. Montressor, born in Gibralter, was the chief English engineer in America. He commenced his survey of New York in December 1765, at a time when the Stamp Act was spurring the creation of the Sons of Liberty and pushing the Colonists toward revolution. The work quality was hurried and not terribly accurate, owing in part to the local hostilities. The map extends from Greenwich to Crown Point and includes roughly 50 names of places, streets, roads, buildings, etc. Large inset of New York Harbor, complete with soundings, appears in the upper left corner. The Montressor plan of New York is the first large scale plan of the city, predating the John Ratzer plan by one year. Earlier plans were issued by Bellin in 1764 and Maerschalck were on a much smaller scale. The French edition of this map appeared separately and in some copies of Le Rouge's North American Atlas, but is generally much scarcer than the English Dury edition of the map. This example is in a very attractive full wash color, highlighting the fine detail present throughout the map. An essential map for New York City collectors.

George Louis Le Rouge Biography

George-Louis Le Rouge (1712-1790), though known for his work in Paris, was originally born Georg Ludwig of Hanover, Germany. He grew up and was educated in Hanover, after which he became a surveyor and military engineer. Around 1740, however, Le Rouge moved to Paris and set up shop as an engraver and publisher on the Rue des Grands Augustins. It was at this time that he changed his name, adopting a French pseudonym that would later become quite famous.

Le Rouge spent much of his forty-year career translating various works from English to French, and his cartographic influence often came from English maps. His experience as a surveyor and engineer in Germany made him a skilled and prolific cartographer, and he produced thousands of charts, maps, atlases, and plans. His work spans from garden views and small-town plans to huge, multiple-continent maps. Le Rouge eventually accepted the position of Geographical Engineer for Louid XV, the King of France.

Later in life, Le Rouge became well-known for publishing North American maps, such as in his Atlas ameriquain septentrional of 1778. One of Le Rouge’s other more famous works is the Franklin/Folger chart of the Gulf Stream, which he worked on with Benjamin Franklin. Franklin and Le Rouge corresponded around 1780 and collaborated to create this map, a French version of Franklin’s famous chart which was originally printed in 1769.