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1780 De L'isle Map of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bohemia and the United Provinces

L'Allemagne Dressee sur les observations de Tycho-Brahe, de Kepler, de Snellius, sur celles de Messieurs de l'Academie Royale des Sciences etc. - Main View

1780 De L'isle Map of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Bohemia and the United Provinces




L'Allemagne Dressee sur les observations de Tycho-Brahe, de Kepler, de Snellius, sur celles de Messieurs de l'Academie Royale des Sciences etc.
  1780 (dated)     20 x 26 in (50.8 x 66.04 cm)     1 : 2500000


An appealing 1780 map of Germany by Delisle. This is a later revision, by Jean-Claude Dezauche, of Guillaume De L'isle's map of 1701. This map, which underwent numerous republications, covers the Germanic territories from the Baltic Sea to the Gulf of Venice and from Rouen in France to Warsaw in Poland and Belgrade in Serbia. It includes the modern day countries of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic, along with parts of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Italy and France. Offers an extraordinary level of detail throughout, noting numerous towns, cities, rivers, roads and other topography, with mountains beautifully rendered in profile.

The map divides the area in the 'imperial circles,' devised by the Holy Roman Empire. The 'imperial circles,' covering most of what is now Central Europe, were administrative units created for tax and defense purposes by the Holy Roman Empire in the 1500s. The Napoleonic Wars would, of course, dissolve the Holy Roman Empire and lead to the consolidation of Germany in 1871.

A decorative title cartouche adorns the lower left quadrant, while an ' Avertissement' appears in the upper right quadrant of the map. The present example, reissued by Dezauche, a successor of De L'Isle, was reissued by Dezauche in 1780.


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. Learn More...

Jean-Claude Dezauche (1745 - 1824) was a French map publisher active in Paris during the first half of the 19th century. He established his own engraving firm around 1770 after having engraved music since 1762. Dezauche bought the archives of Phillipe Buache and Guillaume de L'Isle from Jean Nicholas Buache, Buache's heir, in 1780. Dezauche soon obtained a monopoly on selling the charts produced by the Dépôt de la Marine. Jean-Claude Dezuache passed his business to his son, Jean André Dezauche, upon his death, who took over selling the Dépôt de la Marine charts. Learn More...


Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear and creasing with verso reinforcement along original centerfold. Some ink transference in upper left quadrant.