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First Modern Topographical Map of Tyrol -- The General Nicholas Charles Oudinot Copy (Includes Key Sheet)

This remarkable map of the Tyrol, printed on twenty sheets, is also known as the Atlas Tyrolensis and was commissioned by Empress Maria Theresa, the first and only female ruler of the House of Habsburg. Compiled over a period of ten years and based upon meticulous surveying by Peter Anich and Blasius Hueber, the map was a remarkable work, combining beauty and decorative characteristics of earlier maps with the precision of a modern survey.

The sheer size and detail of the map is impressive; it covers an area of roughly 26,000 km2 in twenty sheets. The topographical and toponymical detail is extensive, making this an important primary source for scholars and a delight for enthusiasts. For example, there are 570 verifiable Alpine peaks shown. The legend in the lower left corner of sheet XVI marks cities, villages, landmarks, mountain passes, glaciers, mines, rivers, lakes, bishop's seats, postal stations, etc.

The decorative elements are also notable and were added by engraver Johann Ernst Mansfield. In the upper left corner is a crowned woman leaning on a monument bearing the map's title. An eagle protects from above, while cherubs play with tools below. Surrounding the legend in the lower left are men with laurel crowns bathing and fawning over a woman. In the lower right is a stunning dedicatory vignette. Winged putti wield a giant banner proclaiming that this map of Tyrol, land ruled by Maria Theresa, was made by Hueber and Anich in 1774. Below, a towering monument with Maria Theresa's bust is surrounded by peasants and workers showing their wares, which could only be made in a country as prosperous as hers. Behind, a verdant landscape stretches into the distance. The map is bound in marbled covered boards with a label pasted on the front reading Atlas Tyrolensis in gold print.

This is the first modern, geodetic map of the region and a surveying landmark, held in high esteem for its topographical work. It was issued both bound as an atlas and as a case map, as issued here, with key sheet ( /gallery/detail/52291opa ).

The making of the Atlas Tyrolensis

Because of its size and elaborate details the map became one of the greatest cartographic achievements of the eighteenth century. It was the result of meticulous work performed by the men mentioned in the title cartouche in the lower right corner: Ignaz Weinhart, Peter Anich, Blasius Hueber, and Johann Ernst Mansfield.

Ignaz Weinhart (1705-1787), a Jesuit priest and mathematician, secured a government contract to create the map in 1760. Peter Anich (1723-1766), Weinhart's student at Innsbruck, carried out the survey from scratch, starting in 1760. His work was hindered by the Court, which wanted a larger scale map than Anich originally planned for. He toiled on, creating his own instruments and scaling Alpine cliffs to get his measurements.

Anich surveyed the north part of the region, but his ill health prevented him from completing the project alone. He enlisted the help of one of his students from his small village, Oberperfuss. Blasius Hueber (1735-1814) helped with the survey of South Tyrol (modern Trentino) from 1765. Anich died in 1766, leaving Hueber to complete the survey, which he did by 1769. In 1770, the map, in sepia and ink and glued on canvas, was finished.

Anich and Hueber both came from modest backgrounds in Oberperfuss, in modern Austria. During the course of this survey, they had to develop many survey techniques themselves and became known as "peasant cartographers". Their humble origins are assumed to have gotten them more information from locals than previous surveyors.

Peter Anich also had a renowned career as a maker of scientific instruments and globes. The Anich-Hueber Museum in Oberperfuss is a testament to the historical importance of this map and the men who made it, displaying Anich's mathematical instruments and tools, five of the thirty existing Anich globes, and several of his sundials.

Meanwhile, in 1768, Johann Ernst Mansfield was commissioned to engrave the masterpiece. The engraving process was slow, as Hueber and Weinhart and the government all had corrections and the proofs travelled between Vienna and Innsbruck several times. For example, Weinhart came up with the format for the legend in the lower left corner, but his suggestion of an alphabetical list of place names was rejected by the government. The engraving was finally completed in 1773 and published in 1774.

The map was an immediate success. Although not the first map of the region, it was the most accurate and artistic, securing it a place of reverence. When Joseph II, Maria Theresa's son, ordered the Hapsburg lands to be systematically surveyed, Tyrol was excluded because the Atlas Tyrolensis was sufficiently detailed for his purposes. The map was used by both sides during the Napoleonic Wars and it was only superseded in the 1820s.

As mentioned, Joseph II along with his mother, Maria Theresa, oversaw the first general mapping of the Hapsburg Empire in the 1770s and 1780s. It was part of an attempt to first visualize and therefore manage, and control, domains and people, a project often described as Enlightened Absolutism. The program was known as the Josephinische Aufnahme. It arose from the failure or complete lack of Austrian maps during the Russian-Austrian-Ottoman War (1737-39), War of Austrian Succession (1740-42) and the Seven Years' War (1756-63). In 1764, when Anich was already surveying, Maria Theresa approved of a plan to map all of her dominions. The project was not completed until 1787, under the reign of Joseph II. However, the fact that the slightly earlier Atlas Tyrolensis was on par with the exacting standards of precision and information-military, economic, and social-that the sheets of the Josephinische Aufnahme were required to include speaks to the fine execution by Weinhart, Anich, Hueber, and Mansfield.

General Nicolas Charles Oudinot

A final detail that gives this map particular importance is the identity of its former owner, Nicolas Charles Oudinot, 1st Comte Oudinot, 1st Duc de Reggio (1767 - 1848), and a Marshal of France. A fierce fighter, the man was wounded no less than 34 times during his military career!

The only one of nine siblings to live past childhood, Oudinot joined the army without a noble pedigree, and therefore without a chance of high promotion. That all changed in 1792, with the outbreak of the French Revolution. In that year, Oudinot was elected lieutenant-colonel of the third battalion of the volunteers of the Meuse. After transfer to the regular army and admirable service in Belgium, he was promoted to the rank of general in June 1794 after the Battle of Kaiserslautern.

From Belgium he shifted to the German and Swiss fronts, where he fought as a general of division and chief of staff to Andre Massena. Oudinot stood out at the Battle of Monzambano so much so that Napoleon himself presented him with a sword of honor, now known as the Legion d'Honneur. Napoleon did not forget him after he established his empire; now Emperor Napoleon recognized Oudinot again, this time with a Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Oudinot continued to acquit himself commendably. He was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies, commanded a company of grenadiers nicknamed for him, and fought in battles from Vienna to Poland. In 1808, he was appointed governor of Erfurt and was made a Count of the French Empire. Finally, in 1809, after the Battle of Wagram, he was named a Marshal of France, France's highest military distinction.

Oudinot continued to serve as an administrator in Holland and on the battlefield in the Russian campaign. After Napoleon's fall, Oudinot joined the Bourbon Restoration and stayed loyal to the King even after Napoleon's return in 1815. For his loyalty and service, he was named a peer of the realm. He served until 1823, when he participated in the French invasion of Spain. Then, he turned again to political and administrative appointments; he died while serving as governor of Les Invalides, at the veterans' hospital in Paris.


Purchased at auction in Paris, from Artcuriel, Collections from the Castle of Malicorne Marshal Oudinot's Historical Souvenirs, June 13, 2017 (Lot 156).

Condition Description
20 sheets, plus key sheet. Dissected and laid on linen, with original slip case.
Wilfried Beimrohr, Die Tirol-Karte oder der Atlas Tyrolensis des Peter Anich und des Blasius Hueber aus dem Jahre 1774 (Tiroler Landesarchiv, 2006).

Johannes Dörflinger, Die Österreichische Kartographie im 18. und zu begin des 19. Jahrhunderts, vol. 1 (Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1984).

Roger J. P. Kain and Elizabeth Baigent, The Cadastral Map in the Service of the State: A History of Property Mapping (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 195.

Gunnar Strunz, Tirol: Natur und Kultur zwischen Kufstein, Ischgl und Brenner (Berlin: Trescher Verlag, 2016), 235-7.

Madalina Valeria-Veres, “Putting Transylvania on the Map: Cartography and Enlightened Absolutism in the Hapsburg Monarchy,” Austrian History Yearbook 43 (2012): 141-164.