Extremely Rare French Example of Bacon's Pictorial View of the World
Fantastic French-language version of Bacon's didactic world map and associated depictions, updated and expanded from a non-British audience. Bacon's exuberant map of the world, which was published in London in the 1870s, was predominantly published in English-language examples. This map is extremely rare; we have been unable to trace any examples of this French edition existing outside of 19th-century sources.
The map sheet is composed of a multitude of detailed sections, each carefully edited to reflect continental, rather than English, sensibilities. The upper section centers around a kind of world clock giving Paris and Barcelona time; portraits of Columbus, Cook, von Humboldt, and Baron Cuvier grace the corners (the latter two replacing Raleigh and Livingstone); coins appear from around the world; illustrations of peoples and races of the world display their ethnic garb; and the flags of the world fly (with the French flag of course accentuated in this edition). The map also contains coats of arms of various nations, diagrams of rivers and mountains, and a general double-hemisphere world map.
Even with the changes additions, the map still maintains its appeal to Victorian chauvinism. Despite this, it does as good a job as possible to illustrate the diversity of the world to a general late-19th century audience.
The concept of merging a central map with additional decorative elements and calling the map "pictorial" was common in the mid-19th century, although this work is undoubtedly one of the greatest examples of the style. The format appears to have risen to prominence with Humphrey Phelps in the United States in the 1830s and 40s with his Pictorial View of the World (much less embellished than the present example) and his Ornamental map of the United States and Mexico.