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1790 Brion and Desnos Map of Poland and Lithuania


Etats de Pologne et de Lithuanie Divises par Palaunats et Provinces Ecclesiastiques Avec le Roiaume de Prusse et le Duche de Curlande.
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Title:    Etats de Pologne et de Lithuanie Divises par Palaunats et Provinces Ecclesiastiques Avec le Roiaume de Prusse et le Duche de Curlande.

Description:    This is a fine 1790 map of Poland and Lithuania by Brion de la Tour and Louis Charles Desnos. It covers modern day Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, etc. The map depicts the Polish boundaries set following the First partition of Poland.

In 1764 Stanislaw August Poniatowski was elevated by election to become King of Poland. This worldly and refined ruler attempted various reforms intended to preserve the failing Polish state, but found himself increasingly subservient to Tsarina Catherina II of Russia. The Bar Confederation of 1768, a rebellion against increasingly Russian influence over Polish politics, led to the First Partition of the Commonwealth, a permanent annexation of Polish territory by its more powerful neighbors. Subsequent partitions in 1793 and 1795, would eventually lead to the disintegration of the Polish state, though it was later reconstituted during the Napoleonic Wars.

The map notes several important towns, cities, rivers and topography. Both the left and right sides of the map proper contain text and the whole is surrounded by a beautifully illustrated border. Prepared by Brion de la Tour and published in Louis Charles Desnos' Geographie Moderne, Historique et Politique.


Date:    1790 (undated)

Source:    Desnos, Louis-Charles, Atlas General et Elementaire pour l'Etude de la Geographie et de l'Histoire Moderne, 1790.    

Cartographer:    Louis Brion de la Tour (1756-1823) was the Cartographer Royal to the King of France, his official title being "Ingenieur-Geographe du Roi". Despite a prolific cartographic career and several important atlases to his name, little is actually known of his life and career. What is known is that much of his work was produced in collaboration with Danish royal Cartographer Louis Charles Desnos (fl. 1750 - 1790). His most notable work is generally regarded to be his 1766 Atlas General. Click here for a list of rare maps from Louis Brion de la Tour.

Cartographer:    Louis Charles Desnos (1725-1805) was an important 18th century instrument maker, cartographer and globe maker based in Paris, France. Desnos held the coveted position of Royal Globemaker to the King of Denmark, Christian VII, for which he received a stipend of 500 Livres annually. In return Desnos sent the King roughly 200 Livres worth of maps, books and atlases each year. As a publisher, Desnos produced a substantial corpus of work and is often associated with Zannoni and Louis Brion de la Tour (1756-1823). Despite or perhaps because of the sheer quantity of maps Desnos published he acquired a poor reputation among serious cartographic experts, who considered him undiscerning and unscrupulous regarding what he would and would not publish. Desnos consequently had a long history of legal battles with other Parisian cartographers and publishers of the period. It is said that he published everything set before him without regard to accuracy, veracity, or copyright law. Desnos had his office on Rue St. Jacques, Paris. Click here for a list of rare maps from Louis Charles Desnos.

Size:   Printed area measures 21.5 x 16 inches (54.61 x 40.64 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 1430000

Condition:    Very good. Some toning and wear with verso repair along original centerfold. Blank on verso. Minor foxing at places. Descriptive text mounted on either side of map, as issued by original publisher.

Code:   Poland-brion-1790 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth , Brion , Desnos , First Partition of Poland

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