Striking Double Hemisphere Map of the World Showing the Latest Discoveries in the 1740s
Fine large double hemisphere map of the world by renowned French mapmaker Gilles Robert de Vaugondy in 1752, first published in 1752.
It shows the Anson expedition and other voyages that took place in the late 1730s and 1740s and also depicts a remarkable projection of Australia.
The map is split into western and eastern hemispheres, which emphasize the broad Pacific Ocean and the large southern seas near the Antarctic; no southern continent is shown.
Between the hemispheres at the top is an elaborate cartouche. The title is ensconced in a monument supported by pillars and statues, with angels at either side. Just below the title is a crowned woman accompanied by a bearded man and a lion. At bottom, the publishing information is framed and draped with sashes, with two cherubs holding it aloft.
The map is full of fascinating cartographic details. For example, in the southwest of the western hemisphere, a cluster of antipodal points are plotted in the Pacific. They represent the opposite point on the globe from not only Paris, where the map was made, but also Madrid, London, Venice, Vienna, Constantinople, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Rome.
The eye is drawn particularly to the large landmass of Nouvelle Hollande, or Australia, which includes Van Dieman's Land, New Guinea, and eastern islands in its outline. The eastern most point that Vaugondy considers part of the Australian continent is Terre de S. Esprit, a reference to Austrialia de Espiritu Santo, a land contacted in 1606 by Pedro Ferdinand de Quiros. Quiros was an adamant promotor of Pacific colonization and he thought he had landed on a vast continent; in reality, he was on the largest island of the chain that makes up Vanuatu.
Farther east are other islands that Quiros described, as well as a land marked as Davis Land. The latter was supposedly seen by an English privateer in 1686, but it was most likely a mirage. Another apocryphal island is Terre de la Compagnie. Compagnies Land was supposedly sighted by the Dutchman Maarten Gerritszoon Vries on his 1643 voyage. He named the island for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) (Compagnies, or Company's Land). In reality, he had re-discovered one of the Kuril Islands. However, other mapmakers latched onto Compagnies Land in particular, enlarging and merging it with the other cartographic constructions of Yesso (Hokkaido) and/or Gamaland. Other important islands in the Pacific include New Zealand, which is shown here as a mere western coastline, based on the voyage of Tasman in the 1640s.
Besides islands, the hemispheres are dotted with the tracks of recent voyages. In the middle of the Pacific are two tracks that seem to mirror each other, that of the galleon Covadonga and that of Anson. Anson had sought the Covadonga, racing the Spanish treasure ship across the Pacific as it brought gold to Manila. He was sent to the Pacific on a mission to harass the Spanish in 1739 and finally captured the galleon in 1743. His ship Centurion returned home in 1744 via China and the Cape of Good Hope, completing a complete circumnavigation. The Covadonga's route to Acapulco from Manila is also marked, to the north of the twin tracks.
Besides the popular, at the time, voyage of Anson, there are other expeditions marked on the map that also discovered new lands in the mid-eighteenth century. East of Cape Horn is the island of St. Pierre, or San Pedro, so named by Captain Gregorio Jerez, commander of a Spanish vessel who accompanied a French convoy out of Saint-Malo.
The Atlantic is criss-crossed by the tracks of the Marie and the Aigle, which were vessels commanded by Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier. Bouvet was an employee of the French East India Company who was convinced that, given a chance, he could make discoveries around the South Pole, or near the much vaunted Terra Australis Incognita. In 1739, the Company gave him a chance. Bouvet meticulously searched the South Atlantic, but he had to return to France earlier than expected because his crew became too ill to continue. At the time this map was published, in 1752, Bouvet was serving as the governor of the Mascarene Islands, east of Madagascar. He was then France's best known explorer.
Robert de Vaugondy's map explains that the area in the Pacific Northwest of North America is not well known. This may have been a subtle dig at his colleagues and fellow French mapmakers Joseph-Nicolas Delisle and Philippe Buache. Delisle and Buache had published two maps in 1752 showing a large Sea of the West in the same area Vaugondy said was unknown. Geographers were split as to the existence of such a sea, and Vaugondy was the best known of those who argued, rightly, against its existence.
Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1688-1766) was the head of a leading family of geographers in eighteenth century France. In 1760 he became geographer to King Louis XV. His son, Didier Robert de Vaugondy (ca. 1723-1786), was also a geographer and the two worked together. They were known for their exactitude and depth of research. In 1757, they produced the Atlas Universel, considered an authority for many years. This map is a fine example of their dedicated work.
Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1688-1766) was the head of a leading family of geographers in eighteenth century France. Gilles got his start when he jointly inherited the shop of Pierre-Moullart Sanson, grandson of the famous geographer Nicholas Sanson. The inheritance included the business, its stock of plates, and a roller press. In 1760 Gilles became geographer to King Louis XV. His son, Didier Robert de Vaugondy (ca. 1723-1786), was also a geographer and the two worked together. They were known for their exactitude and depth of research. In 1757, they produced the Atlas Universel, considered an authority for many years.