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1704 De L'isle Map of Narbonne, France (Languedoc Wine Region)

Carte du Diocese de Narbonne. - Main View

1704 De L'isle Map of Narbonne, France (Languedoc Wine Region)



Carte du Diocese de Narbonne.
  1704 (dated)     18.5 x 24.5 in (46.99 x 62.23 cm)     1 : 220000


This is a beautiful 1704 map of Narbonne, France by Guillaume De L'isle. It covers the region from Aunat east as far as the Mediterranean and from Saint Pons south as far as Rivesaltes. Includes the French department of Aude and part of the department of Herault. The map renders the entire region in extraordinary detail offering both topographical and political information with mountains and forests beautifully rendered in profile. Considered to be one of the greatest constructions of the 17th century, the Canal du Mudi (or the Canal Royal, as it was known at the time this map was made) is identified.

Part of the L anguedoc-Roussillon region, this area is home to a wide variety of vineyards and is part of the larger Languedoc wine-growing region, the oldest in France. In the east are the wines of Corbieres and la Clape, in the center are Minervois and Cotes de Malpeyre, and in the south, blanquette de Limoux. The red wines produced here are meaty, tannic wines with a deep red color. The area is also known for its production of Pelardon cheese, made from goat's milk, and Perail, a ewe's milk cheese.

an inset of the plan of Narbonne in included in the lower right quadrant of the map. The bottom as well as the left and right sides of the map include notes and an index of localities. A beautiful title cartouche adorns the top left quadrant, with a key in the top right quadrant. This map was created by Guillaume De L'isle in 1704.


The De L'Isle family (fl. c. 1700 - c. 1760) (also written Delisle) were, in composite, a mapmaking tour de force who redefined early 18th century European cartography. Claude De L'Isle (1644 -1720), the family patriarch, was Paris based a historian and geographer under Nicholas Sanson. De L'Isle and his sons were proponents of the school of "positive geography" and were definitive figures, defining the heights of the Golden Age of French Cartography. Of his twelve sons, four, Guillaume (1675 - 1726), Simon Claude (1675 - 1726), Joseph Nicholas (1688 - 1768) and Louis (1720 - 1745), made a significant contributions to cartography. Without a doubt Guillaume was the most remarkable member of the family. It is said that Guillaume's skill as a cartographer was so prodigious that he drew his first map at just nine years of age. He was tutored by J. D. Cassini in astronomy, science, mathematics and cartography. By applying these diverse disciplines to the vast stores of information provided by 18th century navigators, Guillaume created the technique that came to be known as "scientific cartography", essentially an extension of Sanson's "positive geography". This revolutionary approach transformed the field of cartography and created a more accurate picture of the world. Among Guillaume's many firsts are the first naming of Texas, the first correct map of the Mississippi, the final rejection of the insular California fallacy, and the first identification of the correct longitudes of America. Stylistically De L'Isle also initiated important changes to the medium, eschewing the flamboyant Dutch style of the previous century in favor of a highly detailed yet still decorative approach that yielded map both beautiful and informative. Guillaume was elected to the French Academie Royale des Sciences at 27. Later, in 1718, he was also appointed "Premier Geographe du Roi", an office created especially for him. De L'Isle personally financed the publication of most of his maps, hoping to make heavy royalties on their sales. Unfortunately he met an untimely death in 1728, leaving considerable debt and an impoverished child and widow. De L'Isle's publishing firm was taken over by his assistant, Phillipe Buache who became, posthumously, his son in law. The other De L'Isle brothers, Joseph Nicholas and Louis De L'Isle, were employed in the Service of Peter the Great of Russia as astronomers and surveyors. They are responsible for cataloguing and compiling the data obtained from Russian expeditions in the Pacific and along the northwest coast of America, including the seminal explorations of Vitus Bering and Aleksei Chirikov. The De L'Isles, like their rivals the Vaugondys , 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. 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. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Minor wear along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Minor dampstains in lower left and right quadrants. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 4764.032.