TURGOT, Michel Etienne (1690-1751) and Louis BRETEZ. Plan de Paris commencé l'Année 1734. Paris: Levé et dessiné par Louis Bretez, gravé par Claude Lucas, 1739.
TURGOT, Michel Etienne (1690-1751) and Louis BRETEZ. Plan de Paris commencé l'Année 1734. Paris: Levé et dessiné par Louis Bretez, gravé par Claude Lucas, 1739.
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TURGOT, Michel Etienne (1690-1751) and Louis BRETEZ. Plan de Paris commencé l'Année 1734. Paris: Levé et dessiné par Louis Bretez, gravé par Claude Lucas, 1739.

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TURGOT, Michel Etienne (1690-1751) and Louis BRETEZ. Plan de Paris commencé l'Année 1734. Paris: Levé et dessiné par Louis Bretez, gravé par Claude Lucas, 1739.

One of the world's most extraordinary feats of cartography. In addition to its huge decorative appeal, Turgot's celebrated plan of Paris is important for providing a remarkably detailed snapshot of the pre-Haussman city. While quite properly representing its great churches, public buildings and monuments, the plan also gives fascinating inklings of the daily life of the 18th-century metropolis: a flotilla of small working boats crowds the Seine; windmills dot the surprisingly rural landscape of fields, farms and orchards which surrounds the compact built-up area, a landscape soon to disappear under later 18th- and 19th-century expansion. Attention to detail is everywhere remarkable: not a window, chimney-piece or turret is omitted. Names have changed, or their derivations are revealed: the modern Place des Vosges is here the Place Roiale; the Moulin Rouge is a real windmill. Turgot's Plan de Paris is not only a staggering technical achievement of representation and perspective, but also, being conceived some 44 years before the first manned balloon flight, a remarkable and quite literal flight of the imagination.

Folio (550 x 440mm). Folding double-page index map and very large perspective plan on 20 numbered sheets by Claude Lucas after Louis Bretez, sheets 18 and 19 joined and folded with title in elaborate figural cartouche, decorative engraved border with fleur-de-lys cornerpieces. Late 19th-century/early 20th-century mottled morocco panelled in gilt with wide foliate tooled border, signed 'A Bâle chez Kaufmann le maroquinier, rue Franche, 91', with arms of Paris on shield mounted on upper cover, gilt spine (extremities lightly rubbed).
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