A fine c. 1750 map of the West Indies and southern Florida by Robert de Vaugondy. Centered on the important French colony of Hispaniola, this map covers from the northern part of the Florida Peninsula to the Northern coast of South America (the Spanish Main) and from Honduras to Barbados in the Lesser Antilles. The cartographer as divided the region into three zones, the continental lands of Florida, the Bahamas or Lucayes Islands; the Greater Antilles including Cuba, Porto Rico, and Hispaniola (Santo Domingo); and the lesser Antilles or Windward Islands extending in an arc from the Virgin Islands to Granada. European powers valued the colonies in the West Indies above all others chiefly for their ability to produce sugar cane and other tropical products. It is no error that Hispaniola, then France's most valuable colony, is placed at the center of the map, suggesting both its prominence as a territory, and its natural position of dominance for the other West India Islands.
This map was engraved by Guillaume Delahaye for Robert de Vaugondy's Atlas Universel.
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-François 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. Learn More...
Guillaume-Nicolas Delahaye (1725 - February 24, 1802) was the most prolific member of the Delahaye (De-La-Haye) family of engravers active in Paris throughout the 18th century. Given that the name, Delahaye literally translates to 'of the Hague' it can be assume they were French Huguenots who were forced to flee the Netherlands under threat of religious persecution. Born in Paris, he was the son of patriarch Jean-Baptiste Delahaye and brother to Jean-Baptistie-Henri Delahaye. It is said that his godfather, who held him at the baptismal font, was none other than the famous french cartographer Guillaume de L'Isle. The Delahaye family engraved for many of the great cartographers of 18th century Paris, including Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville, Didier Robert de Vaugondy, Jean-Baptiste de Mannevillette, and Jean-Nicolas Buache, among others. He was awarded the public office Premier Graveur du Roi and worked on a series of maps illustrating the king's hunts around Versailles. 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 memories of Thomas Jefferson. He married in 1758. In total he engraved some 1200 maps. Delahaye died in Charenton. In 1792, his daughter, Antoinette Marie Delahaye (1773-1857), married the geographer Jean-Denis Barbie du Bocage. Learn More...
Vaugondy, R., Atlas Universel (Paris) 1757.
Very good. Some centerfold wear.