A beautiful example of Rigobert Bonne's c. 1770 decorative map of southeastern Africa and Madagascar. Roughly covers the territory current incorporated into Mozambique and Madagascar. Also includes inset map of the Isle Bourbon and Isle de France or Mauritius.
This region of Africa held a particular fascination for Europeans since the Portuguese first encountered it in the 16th century. At the time, this area was a vast empire called Mutapa or Monomotapa that maintained an active trading network with faraway partners in India and Asia. As the Portuguese presence in the area increased in the 17th century, the Europeans began to note that Monomatapa was particularly rich in gold. They were also impressed with the numerous well crafted stone structures, including the mysterious nearby ruins of Great Zimbabwe. This combination led many Europeans to believe that King Solomon's mines must be hidden in this region. Sure enough our map shows the 'Mts. Fuca riches en Or' in the western parts of Monomotapa. Monomotapa did in fact have rich gold mines in the 16th and 17th centuries, but most have these had been exhausted by the 1700s.
A decorative title cartouche appears in the upper right hand quadrant. Drawn by R. Bonne in 1770 for issue as plate no. C. 30 in Jean Lattre's 1776 issue of the Atlas Moderne.
Rigobert Bonne (October 6, 1727 - September 2, 1794) was one of the most important French cartographers of the late 18th century. Bonne was born in Ardennes à Raucourt, France. He taught himself mathematics and by eighteen was a working engineer. During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) he served as a military engineer at Berg-op-Zoom. It the subsequent years Bonne became one of the most respected masters of mathematics, physics, and geography in Paris. In 1773, Bonne succeeded Jacques-Nicolas Bellin as Royal Cartographer to France in the office of the Hydrographer at the Depôt de la Marine. Working in his official capacity, Bonne compiled some of the most detailed and accurate maps of the period - most on an equal-area projection known erroneously as the 'Bonne Projection.' Bonne's work represents an important step in the evolution of the cartographic ideology away from the decorative work of the 17th and early 18th century towards a more scientific and practical aesthetic. While mostly focusing on coastal regions, the work of Bonne is highly regarded for its detail, historical importance, and overall aesthetic appeal. Bonne died of edema in 1794, but his son Charles-Marie Rigobert Bonne continued to publish his work well after his death.
Jean Lattre (fl. 1743 - 1793) was a Paris based bookseller, engraver, and map publisher active in the mid to late 18th century. Lattre published a large corpus of maps, globes, and atlases in conjunction with a number of other important French cartographic figures, including Janvier, Zannoni, Bonne and Delamarche. He is also known to have worked with other European cartographers such as William Faden of London and the Italian cartographer Santini. Map piracy and copyright violations were common in 18th century France. Paris court records indicate that Lattre brought charges against several other period map publishers, including fellow Frenchman Desnos and the Italian map engraver Zannoni, both of whom he accused of copying his work. Lattre's offices and bookshop were located at 20 rue St. Jaques, Paris, France.
Lattre, Jean, Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur Toutes les Parties du Globe Terrestre, c. 1775.
Very good condition. Original centerfold exhibits minor toning. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 2612.068. National Library of Australia, MAP RM 3126. Phillips (Atlases) 664. National Maritime Museum, 215.