France in provinces.
1814 (dated) 20.25 x 22.75 in (51.435 x 57.785 cm)
This hand colored map is a steel plate engraving, dating to 1814 by the important English mapmaker John Thomson. It depicts France divided into its color coded provinces. Until 1790 France was divided into 40 provinces based on local loyalities and feudal histories. On March 4th of 1790 the National Constituent Assembly reorganized the Provinces into 101 departments, but old habits being what they are, many maps, including Thomson's, continued to depict the provinces of France well into the 20th century. Thomson maps are known for their stunning color, awe inspiring size, and magnificent detail. Thomson's work, including this map, represents some of the finest cartographic art of the 19th century. Engraved in 1814 by James Kirkwood and issued as plate no. 18 in Edinburgh cartographer John Thomson's 1817 edition of the New General Atlas.
John Thomson was one of the leading masters of the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Thomson & his contemporaries (Pinkerton & Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Thomson's principle works include the "Thomson's New General Atlas" published from 1814 to 1827 and his "Atlas of Scotland". The "Atlas of Scotland", a work of groundbreaking detail and dedication would eventually bankrupt the Thomson firm in 1830. Today Thomson maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their monumental size, vivid hand coloration, and superb detail.
Thomson, J. A New General Atlas, (Edinburgh) 1814.
Very good condition. Original centerfold exhibits some light toning . Light soiling to outer margins. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 1007.023. Phillips (Atlases) 731. Newberry Library: Ayer 135 T4 1817.