Important Separately Published 18th Century Map of the South Polar Regions
Fine example of the significantly updated and revised 1776 edition of Robert de Vaugondy's rare separately issued map of the Southern Hemishere, created for De Vaugondy's submission to the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris and first issued in 1773.
De Vaugondy's separately issued map was received with great praise in its time. On March 19, 1773, the Royal Academy of Science noted that the work presented:
an extremely interesting description of one of the least penetrated parts of the globe . . . showing the routes of modern exploreres, such as in 1642 Tasman, Halley in 1700, St. Louis in 1718 , Bouvet in 1738 , and Cook & Bougainville in 1768. . . .
We believe this work of Mr. Robert Vaugondy interesting and worthy of praise from the Academy, which has already received favorably to other works that the author presented him at different times .
The present example, showing addition of Cook's tracks, is especially interesting for the convergence of the recent expeditions of Cook and Bouganville on New Zealand, Australia, and the South Pacific.
We note 3 states of the map, all very rare. It would seem that the first state is not noted in the standard bibliographies and may in fact be a proof state. This first state, pre-dates the addition of text and explanatory tables. The second state, adds text, etc. This third state, revised and updated with astronomical observations (date in the bottom left corner).
- State 1: nla.gov.au/nla.map-rm1871
- State 2: nla.gov.au/nla.map-t1003
- State 3: nla.gov.au/nla.map-nk9789
The primary update to this 3rd state of the map is the addition of Cook's tracks in the Resolution in 1773, 1774 and 1775, and the revised and updated information in the text and tables. The present example also shows the tracks of most of the voyages in outline color.
All states of the map are rare on the market.
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.