1778 Bonne Map of West Africa (Guinea, the Bight of Benin, Congo)

Guinee IIe. Feuille. - Main View

1778 Bonne Map of West Africa (Guinea, the Bight of Benin, Congo)


An early map of the west African coast with speculative interiors.


Guinee IIe. Feuille.
  1778 (undated)     17.5 x 12.5 in (44.45 x 31.75 cm)     1 : 9000000


A beautiful example of Rigobert Bonne's c.1778 decorative map of West Africa. Covers from the Gold Coast (modern day Ghana), south around the Bight of Benin (Biafara) to Gabon, Congo and Angola. Includes the modern day countries of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and Angola.

As with most maps of Africa, this map shows excellent detail along the coast and only speculation in the interior. Gives evidence of significant Belgian mapping activities throughout the Congo and names numerous African Kingdoms including Anzico, Mujaco, Bembe, Lubolo, Pemba, Dembi, Calbongo, Bake-Bake, Benin and others. Attempts to map the Niger River as to flows into the 'Desert de Seth' or Saghara, but most of this cartography is speculative at best. Drawn by R. Bonne for issue as plate no. B 30 in Jean Lattre's Atlas Moderne.


Rigobert Bonne (October 6, 1727 - September 2, 1794) was one of the most important French cartographers of the late 18th century. Bonne was born in Ardennes à Raucourt, France. He taught himself mathematics and by eighteen was a working engineer. During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) he served as a military engineer at Berg-op-Zoom. It the subsequent years Bonne became one of the most respected masters of mathematics, physics, and geography in Paris. In 1773, Bonne succeeded Jacques-Nicolas Bellin as Royal Cartographer to France in the office of the Hydrographer at the Depôt de la Marine. Working in his official capacity, Bonne compiled some of the most detailed and accurate maps of the period - most on an equal-area projection known erroneously as the 'Bonne Projection.' Bonne's work represents an important step in the evolution of the cartographic ideology away from the decorative work of the 17th and early 18th century towards a more scientific and practical aesthetic. While mostly focusing on coastal regions, the work of Bonne is highly regarded for its detail, historical importance, and overall aesthetic appeal. Bonne died of edema in 1794, but his son Charles-Marie Rigobert Bonne continued to publish his work well after his death. More by this mapmaker...

Jean Lattré (170x - 178x) was a Paris based bookseller, engraver, globe maker, calligrapher, and map publisher active in the mid to late 18th century. Lattré published a large corpus of maps, globes, and atlases in conjunction with a number of other important French cartographic figures, including Janvier, Zannoni, Bonne and Delamarche. He is also known to have worked with other European cartographers such as William Faden of London and the Italian cartographer Santini. Map piracy and copyright violations were common in 18th century France. Paris court records indicate that Lattré brought charges against several other period map publishers, including fellow Frenchman Desnos and the Italian map engraver Zannoni, both of whom he accused of copying his work. Lattré likes trained his wife Madame Lattré (né Vérard), as an engraver, as a late 18th century trade card promotes the world of 'Lattré et son Epouse.' Lattré's offices and bookshop were located at 20 rue St. Jaques, Paris, France. Later in life he relocated to Bordeaux. Learn More...


Lattre, Jean, Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur Toutes les Parties du Globe Terrestre, c.1778.    


Very good. Some toning and wear along original centerfold. Minor foxing. Original platemark visible.


Rumsey 2612.066. Phillips (Atlases) 664. National Maritime Museum, 215.