France Par Departments.
1874 (undated) 15 x 17.5 in (38.1 x 44.45 cm)
1 : 3400000
This is a fine 1874 map of France divided into its constituent departments by Ambroise Tardieu. It covers from the Nord in the north to eastern Pyrenees in the south and from Finistere in the west to Upper and Lower Rhein in the east. An inset map near the lower right corner details Corsica.
The French Department system was established on March 4th, 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure. They were designed to deliberately break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Initially there were 83 departments but by 1800 that number increased to roughly 130. Many of the departments that were created in 1790 remain the administrative districts to this day. Nonetheless, the province system was so engrained that most cartographers felt obliged to include two maps of France in their atlases, one showing the current department system, and another defining the defunct provinces.
This map was prepared by Ambroise Tardieu and issued as plate 12 in his 1874 edition of Atlas Universel de Geographie Ancienne et Moderne.
Ambroise Tardieu (1788-1841) was a prominent French cartographer and engraver operating in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Tardieu's work is known for its beauty and accuracy as well as for its depth of detail. Tardieu's most important work is his version of John Arrowsmith's large format map of the United States, published in 1806. Ambroise Tardieu is eclipsed in fame by his son, artist and medical scholar, August Ambroise Tardieu. Ambroise Tardieu is also frequently confused with Jean Baptiste Pierre Tardieu, another unrelated French map and print engraver active in the early 19th century.
Alexandre Vuillemin (1812-1880) was a cartographer and an book editor based in Paris, France. Despite a prolific cartographic career, much of Vuillemin's life is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that his studied under the prominent French Auguste Henri Dufour (1798-1865). Vuillemin's most important work his detailed, highly decorative large format Atlas Illustre de Geographie Commerciale et Industrielle.
Furne, Jouvet et Cie Atlas Universel de Geographie Ancienne et Moderne (Paris), 1874.
Very good. Minor wear along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Minor spotting and some manuscript marking over the northeast borders of France.
Rumsey 4697.016 (1863 edition).