This is a rare and attractive 1775 map of Asia by Robert de Vaugondy. Vaugondy's map covers the entire continent from Africa and the Mediterranean east to the Bering Sea and south as far as Java and New Guinea. This map is most interesting in its rendering of the largely unexplored extreme northeast of Asia. Knowledge of this area was, at the time, speculative at best and Vaugondy presents a largely conjectural mapping of Japan, Hokkaido, Sakhalin Island and Korea. Further south New Guinea is presented in tentative form with its eastern border missing.
Just to the east of Yedso (Hokkaido), Vaugondy maps the apocryphal Terre de la Compagnie or Terre de Gama. Terre de Gama and Terre de la Company, speculative mis-mappings of the Japanese Kuril Islands by the 17th century Dutch explorers Maerten de Vries and Cornelis Jansz Coen, appear just northeast of Yedso (Hokkaido). Gama or Compagnie remained on maps for about 50 years following Bering's voyages until the explorations of Cook confirmed the Bering findings. The map is such an example.
The sea between Japan and Korea, whose name, either the 'Sea of Korea,' 'East Sea,' or the 'Sea of Japan,' is here identified in favor of Korea (Mer de Coree). Historically, Korea has used the term 'East Sea' since 59 B.C., and many books published before the Japanese annexed Korea make references to the 'East Sea' or 'Sea of Korea.' Over time, neighboring and western countries have identified Korea's East Sea using various different terms. The St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences referred to the East Sea as 'Koreiskoe Mope' or 'Sea of Korea' in their 1745 map of Asia. Other seventeenth and 18th century Russian maps alternate between 'Sea of Korea' and 'Eastern Ocean.' The 18th century Russian and French explorers Adam Johan von Krusenstern and La Perouse called it the 'Sea of Japan,' a term that became popular worldwide. Nonetheless, the last official map published by the Russians name the East Sea the 'Sea of Korea.' The name is currently still a matter of historical and political dispute between the countries.
The top center of the map is decorated with an elaborate title cartouche. This map was originally engraved by Guillaume Delahaye and drawn by Robert de Vaugondy in 1750. This is the 1775 state published in the 1757 issue of his Atlas Universal. The Atlas Universal was one of the first atlases based upon actual surveys. Therefore, this map is highly accurate (for the period) and has most contemporary town names correct.
Gilles (1688 - 1766) and Didier (c. 1723 - 1786) Robert de Vaugondy were map publishers, engravers, and cartographers active in Paris during the mid-18th century. The father and son team were the inheritors to the important Sanson cartographic firm whose stock supplied much of their initial material. Graduating from Sanson's map's Gilles, and more particularly Didier, began to produce their own substantial corpus of work. Vaugondys were well respected for the detail and accuracy of their maps in which they made excellent use of the considerable resources available in 18th century Paris to produce the most accurate and fantasy-free maps possible. The Vaugondys compiled each map based upon their own superior geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation - moreover, unlike many cartographers of this period, they commonly took pains to reference their source material. Nevertheless, even in 18th century Paris geographical knowledge was severely limited - especially regarding those unexplored portions of the world, including the poles, the Pacific northwest of America, and the interior of Africa and South America. In these areas the Vaugondys, like their rivals De L'Isle and Buache, must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. Vaugondy's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Phillipe Buache, resulted in numerous conflicting papers being presented before the Academie des Sciences, of which both were members. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver.
Vaugondy, R., Atlas Universel (Paris) 1757.
The Atlas Universel was the crowning glory of the Robert de Vaugondy firm's atlas production. The atlas was revolutionary on many levels and exemplified the Vaugondy creedo commode, complet, univorme, et suive (convenient, complete, uniform, and easy to use). The atlas thus consisted of a wide corpus of maps, both modern and historical, was of moderate height and width, and featured maps of uniform style and structure. They partnered with Antoine Boudet, a shrewd businessman and publisher with whom they had worked previously, to produce the first edition. To minimize his fiscal risk, Boudet sold the atlas first by subscription using a large prospectus, receiving in the process over 1100 pre-orders. The first edition appeared in 1757 and contained beautifully produced maps with elaborate freshly designed allegorical cartouche work, generally by Pierre-Edme Babel, Pierre Philippe Choffard, and Charles Nicholas Cochin. Most of the maps were engraved by the Delahaye firm, the payment for whose services ultimately led to legal disputes. Despite proving a popular work of astounding quality, the Atlas Universal received harsh criticism from fellow cartographers, particularly Philipppe Buache. Ever at odds with the Vaugondys, Buache's critical perspective may have been influenced more by political maneuvering than academic affront. The atlas was issued in multiple editions between 1757 and 1788. Later editions, issued after 1786, were taken over by Charles Delamarche, who inherited the Robert de Vaugondy firm and assumed Boudet's publication rights.
Very good. Some wear and verso repair along original lower 1/4 of centerfold. Minor spotting and offsetting. Original platemark visible.
Rumsey 3353.088. Pedley, Mary Sponberg Belle et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 375, state 3.