1755 Vaugonday Map of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware

Carte de la Virginie et du Maryland.

1755 Vaugonday Map of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware


The first state of Vaugondy's important map of Virginia showing the lands of Lord Fairfax.

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Carte de la Virginie et du Maryland.
  1755 (dated)    20 x 26 in (50.8 x 66.04 cm)     1 : 870000


This is a fine example of Robert de Vaugondy's 1755 map of the Virginian, Delaware, and Maryland, including the Chesapeake Bay. The map extends from the Allegany Mountains eastward to the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Atlantic Ocean. Parts of adjacent New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are also included. Cartographically Vaugondy derives this map from the Virginia-Maryland portions of the 1755 Dalrymple edition of the Fry-Jefferson map.

The Fry-Jefferson Map, from which this map is derived, initially issued in 1751, was the first major mapping of Virginia to deviate from the conventions laid down by the 1612 John Smith map. Unlike the Smith Map, the Fry-Jefferson map evolved from actual on-site survey work completed by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson. This map disseminated some of the first accurate data regarding the interior of Virginia.

Vaugondy's map offers a wealth of interesting detail. These include two stunted wagon routes extending west from Maryland, then across the Potomac, that seem to fade away as they head southwest towards Frederick. Another stunted path to the west of the Blue Ridge Mountains is labeled 'Route Indianne.' Throughout mills, settlements, and even American Indian lands are noted.A beautifully engraved titile cartouche adorns the lower right quadrant of the map. Drawn by Robert de Vaugondy and published in the 1757 issue of his Atlas Universal.


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.

Guillaume Delahaye (1725 - 1802) was the most prolific member of the Delahaye (De-La-Haye) family of engravers active in Paris throughout the 18th century. The Delahaye family engraved for many of the great cartographers of 18th century Paris, including D'Anville and Vaugondy. Guillaume also worked with foreign cartographers such as Tomas Lopez of Madrid. Possibly Delahaye's most significant map is A Map of the Country between Albemarle Sound and Lake Erie prepared for the memoires of Thomas Jefferson. Delahaye was succeeded by his daughter, E. Haussard.


Vaugondy, R., Atlas Universel (Paris) 1757.     The Atlas Universal 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. Minor wear along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Some spotting and offsetting, especially near border.


Rumsey 3353.101. OCLC 51199220. Pedley, Mary Sponberg Belle et Utile: The Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 470, state 3. Cumming, W., The Southeast in Early Maps, 281.