An uncommon c. 1780 optical view of the city of Valletta, capital of Malta. The view reveals a busy and well defended harbor. Published by Chez Basset, Rue St. Jacques a Ste. Genevieve, Paris.
Optical Views, or Vues d'Optique, became popular in Europe in the middle part of the 19th century. These view, defined by exaggerated convergence lines, were intended to be studied through large lens and mirror apparatuses that emphasized the 'perspective' effect. This is the reason that the title, at the top of the view, is written in reverse. Purveyors and publishers of optical views began to pop up all over Europe. Basset, the publisher of the present view, was one such well known establishment in Paris.
André Basset (or Bassett) (fl. 1768 - 1784) was a well-known French family of publishers and engravers active on the Rue St. Jacques, Paris, during the 18th and 19th centuries. Basset was best known for the production of low cost optical views of European cities and events. However, the firm also produced games, maps, and other prints. The firm was taken over by Paul-André Bassett in 1784. Paul-André Bassett himself retired in 1819, but the business continued under various family members until 1865. The firm operated from the corner of Rue St Jacques and Rue des Mathurins, Paris.
Good. Old color. Some soiling and age toning.