Scarce early map of Caracas, published shortly before the Independence of Nueva Granada.
The town of Caracas is quite small, with the map showing city limits to be about 16 blocks by 12 blocks, with ravines, mountains, rivers, and small agricultural holdings establishing its perimeter. The key locates a number of civic and administrative buildings, such as the prison, the college, military barracks, the grand plaza, the hospital, and the homes of some wealthy elites. Public fountains are shown, about four blocks northwest of the Grand Plaza.
A number of different parishes, churches, monasteries, and convents are shown, at least fifteen named locations with definite affiliation to religious institutions.
The map appeared in Francois Raymond Joseph de Pons' Voyage a la partie orientale de la Terre-Ferme, dans l'Amérique méridionale, fait pendant les années 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804: contenant la description de la Capitainerie générale de Caracas, composée des Provinces de Venezuela, Maracaïbo, Varinas, la Guiane Espagnole, Cumana et de l'Ile de la Marguerite, published in 1806.
Pierre Antoine Tardieu (1784-1869), also known to sign his works as PF Tardieu, was a prolific French map engraver and geographer. The Tardieu family, based in Paris, was well known for their talent in engraving, cartography, and illustration. Pierre Antoine’s father, Antoine Francois Tardieu, was an established cartographer who published numerous atlases. His son is said to have collaborated with him for many years before establishing his own independent career.
Pierre Antoine Tardieu’s most famous work includes engravings of the islands of La Palma and Tenerife, for which in 1818 he was awarded a bronze medal by King Louis-Phillipe for the beauty and accuracy of his mapping. Other famous work includes his mapping of Louisiana and Mexico, engravings of Irish counties, maps of Russia and Asia, and his highly celebrated illustrations of all the provinces of France. He was also the first mapmaker to engrave on steel.
Tardieu was a popular map engraver in his lifetime, enjoying the patronage of the likes of Alexander von Humboldt and respect among his peers. In 1837, he was appointed the title Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. As was written in his obituary in the Bulletin of the Geographical Society of France, he was renowned for his combination of technical talent and scholarly research skills and praised for furthering his family’s well-respected name in the scientific arts.