This is a beautiful example of Robert de Vaugondy's map of the Russian Empire or Eastern Russia. It map extends from the Kara Sea and the Province of Narimskoy in Siberia east as far as Kamchatka and the Bering Sea and and south as far as the Gobi Desert and Tartary. If offers excellent detail throughout showing mountains, rivers, forests, national boundaries, regional boundaries and cities.
In the lower left quadrant, the map notes the vast stretch of land known for most of the 18th century as Tartary. This area was once part of the vast Mongol Empire consolidated under Genghis Khan around 1206 AD. Although the empire of the Great Khan had long since disintegrated into constituent states by the time this map was made, this little known and largely inaccessible region held a special fascination for western Europeans who were reared on legends of the dreaded Mongols or Tartars and their leader, the terrifying Scourge of God. Consequently, much of the geography of Central Asia represented here references these early conquests. Genghis Khan's largely abandoned capital at Karacum (Kara Kum) is noted. To the south of Karakum, Vaugondy notes a range of mountains with a notes that roughly translates to 'Mountains believed to be those where the Tombs of the Mongol Emperor Ginghiz Khan's family are.'
A beautifully engraved title cartouche adorns the lower right quadrant of the map. This map was drawn by Robert de Vaugondy in 1750 and 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. Minor wear along original fold lines. Minor print crease lower margins. Original platemark visible. Minor spotting and offsetting with damp stains near borders.
Rumsey 3353.090. Pedley, Mary Sponberg Belle et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 404.