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1809 Gassicourt Gastronomical Map of France

Carte Gastronomique de la France. - Main View

1809 Gassicourt Gastronomical Map of France


First Cartographic Celebration of Gustatory France.


Carte Gastronomique de la France.
  1809 (undated)     14.5 x 18.5 in (36.83 x 46.99 cm)     1 : 3122000


This 1809 map of France, beautifully drawn and engraved by Jean François Tourcaty for author Charles Louis Cadet de Gassicourt, is the earliest instance of a carte gastronomique - a map devised not to show its subject country's cities or topography, but to show the foods characteristic to it. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the topic, the map is of France. It presents an open outline map of the country, with simply hachured coastlines. Rivers are shown in order to contextualize the regions and the chief cities but the bulk of the detail shown in the map are attractive pictorial vignettes each region's main produce. These range from the salt pans of the western coasts, fisheries, cattle, fowl (both before and after plucking), wheels of cheeses, and beehives. But overwhelmingly, wine and spirits dominate the map in a multiplicity of vineyards, stills, barrels and bottles. At a glance, one can characterize any one of the regions on the map by what one might find there to eat, in broad variety.
Scientifically Eating One's Way Across France
Cadet de Gassicourt included this map in his 1809 Cours Gastronomique, a work whereby the chemist, pharmacist and author applied the disciplines of modern chemistry to the business of cooking and eating - a subject which this map explores little, but sets the tone for. Cadet dedicated the work to, and perhaps intended it primarily for, La Societe Epicurienne du Caveau moderne (The Epicurean Society of the Modern Cellar). Cadet was a member of La Societe, and his compatriots' names decorate the grand cartouche at the left hand side of the engraving. Neither Cadet nor La Societe seem to have approached the science of eating too drily. They met every month, not only eating and drinking but singing as the musical instruments in the cartouche allude. They kept a journal as well, a copy fo which is depicted in the cartouche, in the grass beside the lyre. The sense of fun exhibited in the cartouche (witness the boy actively devouring it) is reflected in one of Cadet's songs:
Laugh, eat, sleep and drink, rhyme and sing about nothing, love always, this is the glory of the true Epicurean. . . . We need to have fun and happiness is in pleasure.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn and engraved by Jean François Tourcaty in 1809 for inclusion in Cadet de Gassicourt's Cours Gastronomique. Despite having inspired many other such food maps, we are aware of only one edition of this one. No separate examples are catalogued in OCLC, but perhaps twenty examples of the book are listed.


Charles-Louis Cadet De Gassicourt (January 23, 1769 - November 21, 1821) was the illegitimate son of Louis XV and Marie-Thérèse Boisselet, wife of Louis-Claude Cadet. Known as 'Cadet,' he was a prolific author, lawyer, chemist, and pharmacist. He was also a gourmand, whose efforts to apply science to gastronomy resulted in several books - notably his 1809 Cours Gastronomique and his 1806 Dissertation on Coffee.

Cadet was trained in the law and would practice, but in his youth he had been introduced to the many scientists who visited Louis-Claude and he would become fascinated with the new discipline of modern chemistry - to the extent of quitting law to become a pharmacist. Both on the strength of his family connections and his own abilities, he gained such prominence as to become a founder of the Bulletin de pharmacie. He would be appointed pharmacist to Napoleon himself. He authored many works to popularize the New Chemistry - notably his four-volume 1803 Dictionnaire de chimie, but also wrote on other political and scientific subjects - not least on issues of health, hygiene and food. More by this mapmaker...

Jean François Tourcaty (1763-1793) was a French engraver and playing-card maker. His father and namesake Jean François Tourcaty was also an engraver (active 1734-53) who appears to have had a specialty in Tarot cards. The younger Tourcaty produced a number of engravings of celebrities during the French Revolution, notably Marat and Marie Antoinette. Learn More...


Gassicourt, Charles Louis Cadet de, Cours Gastronomique (Paris: Capelle et Renand) 1809.    


Very good. Some visible wear at junctures of folds, reinforced.


OCLC. 13821198 (full volume). Cornell University, PJ. Mode Collection of Persuasive Maps, 1033.01.