1753 Vaugondy Map of the Poitou-Charentes Region of France

Gouvernemens Generaux du Poitou, du Pays d'Aunis, et de Saintonge-Angoumois. - Main View

1753 Vaugondy Map of the Poitou-Charentes Region of France


Home of the some of the finest wines and cognacs.


Gouvernemens Generaux du Poitou, du Pays d'Aunis, et de Saintonge-Angoumois.
  1753 (dated)     20 x 24 in (50.8 x 60.96 cm)     1 : 476000


This is an attractive 1753 map of the Poitou-Charentes region of France by Robert de Vaugondy. It covers the region of Poitou-Charentes and part of the Pays-de-la-Loire region from Machecoul south to Royan and inland as far as Rancon, and includes the modern day departments of Vendee, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sevres and Vienne. Includes the Ile d'Oleron, the Ile de Re and Ile d'Yeu. The map rendered the entire region in extraordinary detail showing roads, canals, rivers, cities, villages, chateaux, etc. Undersea shoals and reefs are also noted along the coast.

This region, which hugs the Loire Valley, is famed for is beautiful Chateaux and for producing some of the world's finest wines. Vendee is home to a number of small vineyards around the communes of Vix, Brem, Pissotte and Mareuil-sur-Lay. These wines are marketed under the 'Fiefs Vendeens' designation. Production quality has improved markedly over recent years, and, having already achieved the classification Vin Delimite de Qualite Superieure (VDQS), the wines are on their way towards A.O.C status (Appellation d'Origine Controlee). The rural area of Deux-Sevres produces fine wines such as Vin du Thouarsais, of Thouarsas. The cheese Chabichou is also made here. Chabichou is a traditional soft, unpasteurized, natural-rind goat cheese (or Chevre) with a firm and creamy texture.

The department of Charente is known for its fine Cognacs and Pineau wines, agriculture, and cheese. It produces a wide variety of goat cheeses, such as Chabichou, Mothais, Buche du Poitou, and Chabi. In fact, it produces a third of all the goat cheese in France. Charente Maritime is a coastal province bordering Charente, Dordogne, and Gironde (Bordeaux) is also known as the producer of the world's finest Cognacs. Vienne is renowned for its production of Chevre, or goat cheese, and is a vital industry in this department.

A beautifully engraved title cartouche adorns the bottom left quadrant of the map. Drawn by Robert de Vaugondy in 1753 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, though historic names are, in many cases, incorrect or omitted.


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. After Didier died, his maps were acquired by Jean-Baptiste Fortin who in 1787 sold them to Charles-Fran├žois Delamarche (1740 - 1817). While Delamarche prospered from the Vaugondy maps, he also defrauded Vaugondy's window Marie Louise Rosalie Dangy of her inheritance and may even have killed her. More by this mapmaker...


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. Some wear and toning along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Minor spotting and offsetting.


Rumsey 3353.035. Pedley, Mary Sponberg Belle et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 133.