Nice example of J.B.B. D'Anville's 4 sheet map of North America, one of the best French maps of North America prior to the French & Indian War.
The map was issued shortly after Bellin's seminal map of the Great Lakes, although the projection of Lake Michigan appears to lean slightly toward the east, unlike Bellin's and subsequent maps. Karpinski notes that D'Anville, who was the foremost of the French Cartographers following De L'Isle, treats there region around the Great Lakes with considerably more accuracy than John Mitchell's map of 1755.
The map provides nice detail along the Rio Grande and an excellent treatment of the Mississippi and Missouri River Valleys for the period. Lahontan's Grande River is retained west of Lac Du Bois. The Trans-Appalachian treatment in the Ohio Valley and below the Great Lakes reflects the superior knowledge of the French in these regions, owing largely to the Jesuit activity from the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi River over the prior 150 years. The newly formed colony of Georgia appears above Florida, which is in a modest Archipelagic state.
Issued by one of France's most important mapmakers, D'Anville's map is one of the earliest large format maps of North America published in France.
Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville (1697-1782) was one of the foremost French geographers of the eighteenth century. He carried out rigorous research in order to create his maps, which greatly developed the technical proficiency of mapmaking during his lifetime. His style was also simpler and less ornate than that of many of his predecessors. It was widely adopted by his contemporaries and successors.
The son of a tailor, d’Anville showed cartographic prowess from a young age; his first map, of Ancient Greece, was published when he was only fifteen years old. By twenty-two, he was appointed as one of the King’s géographes ordinaire de roi. He tutored the young Louis XV while in the service to the Crown. However, royal appointment did not pay all the bills, so d’Anville also did some work for the Portuguese Crown from 1724. For example, he helped to fill out Dom João V’s library with geographical works and made maps showing Portugal’s African colonies.
D’Anville disapproved of merely copying features from other maps, preferring instead to return to the texts upon which those maps were based to make his own depictions. This led him to embrace blank spaces for unknown areas and to reject names which were not supported by other sources. He also amassed a large personal map library and created a network of sources that included Jesuits in China and savants in Brazil. D’Anville’s historical approach to cartography resulted in magnificently detailed, yet modern and academic, maps. For example, his 1743 map of Italy improved upon all previous maps and included a memoir laying out his research and innovations. The geographer also specialized in ancient historical geography.
In 1773, d’Anville was named premier géographe de roi. In 1780, he ceded his considerable library to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be used for as a reference library for diplomats. D’Anville is best known for several maps, including his map of China, first published in 1735, and then included with Du Halde’s history of that country (the Hague, 1737). His map of Africa (1749) was used well into the nineteenth century.