1779 Bonne / Delamarche Separate-Issue Map of Asia

Carte de L'Asie divisée en ses principaux Etats. - Main View

1779 Bonne / Delamarche Separate-Issue Map of Asia


Striking map of Asia offering the best cartography of the period.


Carte de L'Asie divisée en ses principaux Etats.
  1779 (undated)     29.5 x 42 in (74.93 x 106.68 cm)     1 : 14500000


An exceptional large-format separate-issue map of Asia issued by Rigobert Bonne and Charles-François Delamarche, c. 1779. The map compiles much of the best cartography available at the time, covering from the Mediterranean to the Bering Strait, and from the Arctic Ocean to Java and Timor. Much of the source cartography can be traced to J. B. B. D'Anville - note the distinctive square shape of Korea - but Bonne's considerable revision has brought it up to date to about 1779. Particularly striking is the large ornamental title cartouche appearing in the upper right illustrating the wealth, indolence, and decadence stereotypically attributed to Asia by orientalists of the late 19th century.
The Bering Strait
There is a manuscript note identifying the Bering Strait (Detroit de Behring) and Cape Est, suggesting interest in the region by an early owner. Further south, Aleutian Islands (as well as the Isle St. Andre), are named, but placed haphazardly, suggesting a pre-Cook analysis. Of the islands here noted, some are recognizable, particularly S. Diomede, today's Diomede Islands, named by Vitus Bering in 1728.
Publication History and Census
The cartography is attributed to Rigobert Bonne. The present example was published by Charles-François Delamarche. The Boston Public Library owns an edition published by Jean Lattré and dated to 1779. It is hard to know which came first, or if they were published simultaneously, as the map appeared during a general overlap in their careers. Both examples exhibit signs of re-engraving in the title cartouche, so it is possible that there exists an earlier, now lost, precursor. Examples are scarce. Aside from the known Lattré example at the Boston Public Library, examples that 'might' be this map are cataloged at Cornell and at the British Library. Unfortunately, they are not imaged and the common-place title was widely used by the same cartographers for lesser atlas maps.


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. Learn More...

Charles-François Delamarche (1740 - 1817) founded the important and prolific Paris based Maison Delamarche map publishing firm in the late 18th century. A lawyer by trade, Delamarche entered the map business with the acquisition from Jean-Baptiste Fortin of Robert de Vaugondy's map plates and copyrights. Delamarche appears to have been of dubious moral character. In 1795 the widow of Didier Robert de Vaugondy, Marie Louise Rosalie Dangy, petitioned a public committee for 1500 livres, which should have been awarded to her deceased husband. However, Delamarche, proclaiming himself Vaugondy's heir, filed a simultaneous petition and walked away with the funds, most of which he was instructed to distribute to Robert de Vaugondy's widow and children. Just a few months later, however, Delamarche proclaimed Marie Dangy deceased and it is highly unlikely that any funds found their way to Robert de Vaugondy's impoverished daughters. Nonetheless, where Robert de Vaugondy could barely make ends meet as a geographer, Delamarche prospered as a map publisher, acquiring most of the work of earlier generation cartographers Lattre, Bonne, Desnos, and Janvier, thus expanding significantly upon the Robert de Vaugondy stock. Charles Delamarche eventually passed control of the firm to his son Felix Delamarche (c. 1750 - c. 1850) and geographer Charles Dien (1809 - 1870). It was later passed on to Alexandre Delamarche, who revised and reissued several Delamarche publications in the mid-19th century. The firm continued to publish maps and globes until the middle part of the 19th century. Learn More...


Very good. Minor water toning here and there. Original linen backing stable.


Boston Public Library, Leventhal Center, G1015 .A85 1783.