Sign In

Forgot Password Create Account

Unrecorded variant of a rare French Chart of San Francisco Bay and Envrions

Rare separately issued sea chart of the Environs of San Francisco Bay, published by the French Depot de la Marine in 1865 and revised to 1871.

The chart is based upon the work of A.D. Bache and the US Coast Survey in 1862.

The chart extends from Bodega Bay in the North, to the Monterey / Pt. Pinos Lighthouse. In the interior of the map, it extends to Napa, Petaluma and the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.

The chart includes detailed soundings, light houses and sailing directions.

The chart is extremely rare. OCLC locates only the copies at the Bancroft (1865) and British Library (1865), with no examples of the 1871 corrected edition located.

Depot de la Marine Biography

The Dépôt de la Marine, known more formally as the Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine, was the central charting institution of France. The centralization of hydrography in France began in earnest when Jean-Baptiste Colbert became First Minister of France in 1661. Under his watch, the first Royal School of Hydrography began operating, as did the first survey of France’s coasts (1670-1689). In 1680, Colbert consolidated various collections of charts and memoirs into a single assemblage, forming the core of sources for what would become the Dépôt.

The Dépôt itself began as the central deposit of charts for the French Navy. In 1720, the Navy consolidated its collection with those government materials covering the colonies, creating a single large repository of navigation. By 1737, the Dépôt was creating its own original charts and, from 1750, they participated in scientific expeditions to determine the accurate calculation of longitude.

In 1773, the Dépôt received a monopoly over the composition, production, and distribution of navigational materials, solidifying their place as the main producer of geographic knowledge in France.  Dépôt-approved charts were distributed to official warehouses in port cities and sold by authorized merchants. The charts were of the highest quality, as many of France’s premier mapmakers worked at the Dépôt in the eighteenth century, including Philippe Bauche, Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Rigobert Bonne, Jean Nicolas Buache, and Charles-François Beautemps-Beaupré.

The Dépôt continued to operate until 1886, when it became the Naval Hydrographic Service. In 1971, it changed names again, this time to the Naval and Oceanographic Service (SHOM). Although its name has changed, its purpose is largely the same, to provide high quality cartographic and scientific information to the France’s Navy and merchant marine.