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French Cartography - simply decorative

Perrot.AveyronAs with the counties of England, there is also a wide choice of decorative antique maps of the different counties or départements of  France. The French are unsurpassed in their artistic inclination. While the maps of Levasseur (featured in a previous Blog) are undoubtedly the most intricate and informative cartographic representation of any country, there were many other French mapmakers who produced elegant and informative maps of the départements of France - particularly during the 19th century.

The most imaginative of these were published in Paris circa 1834. Small maps of each department were drawn by Aristede-Michel Perrot and beautifully engraved by Blanchard. Each map showed a department surrounded by a composite of small illustrations of the region's produce and industry - sometimes  presenting the map as drawn on the hide of an animal.[Aveyron, Perrot c1834]
Elegant maps by Lorrain were engraved by Dandeleux and Chullier for Atlas Départemental La France et ses Colonies published at Versailles circa 1836 by Andrieux and Barreswil. Charles Monin's maps published around the same time, concentrated on the geography of the department, but were still enhanced by a vignette of an important scene. In the 1870s, maps by Alexandre Vuillemin were strongly engraved and decorated by a cluster of vignettes of major towns, ancient ruins, coats of arms, and head studies of important historical, literary, or royal personages. [Nord, Vuillemin c1870]

Desnos.les gouv.Poitou. Earlier maps, for example those for Atlas Historique et Geographique (Atlas of History and Geography) published in Paris circa 1770 by Louis Charles Desnos (1725-1805), were engraved by Cartographer Royal to the King of France, Brion de la Tour, and embellished by a simple cartouche (title piece) simply surrounded by representative scenery instead of the more usual cartouche scroll, but containing information about the history of the region and the mapmaker. [Les Gouvernemens de Poitou, de Berri, de Bourbonnois, et de Nivernois. Desnos, c1770] We have a wide selection of the departments of France, from the early 17th century on. Select from our website at

Posted: 25/02/2014 2:57:49 PM by | with 0 comments