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MASSE, Claude (1652-1737) and sons. Carte Générale de la Frontière des Provinces du Haynaut François et Imperial. Mezieres: 8 October 1736.
MASSE, Claude (1652-1737) and sons. Carte Générale de la Frontière des Provinces du Haynaut François et Imperial. Mezieres: 8 October 1736.

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MASSE, Claude (1652-1737) and sons. Carte Générale de la Frontière des Provinces du Haynaut François et Imperial. Mezieres: 8 October 1736.

Large pen and ink manuscript map (455 x 1260mm) on five sheets, the whole mounted on slightly later paper (488 x 1300mm), depicting the area of modern north-eastern France and southern Belgium. (Lightly browned, a few short splits and scattered tiny losses, bottom corners chipped just touching text, short marginal tears just into image with very small associated loss.)

EXTREMELY ACCURATE AND ATTRACTIVE MAP FORMING PART OF THE FIRST LARGE-SCALE CARTOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF FRANCE. Masse père, started his professional life as a draughtsman for the engineer François Ferry, with whom he worked on all the great military projects of the 1680s. The wars of the League of Augsburg (1689-1697) and of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), along with the ever-present British threat from the north, made it essential for the French court to gain accurate knowledge of its own coastlines. In this way, Masse the engineer became Masse the cartographer, and by 1723 Masse had produced a complete and accurate survey of the entire coastline from Arcachon to Noirmoutier.

Masse died in 1736 at the age of 86 while on the job in Flanders, presumably while completing the present work. He had two sons, both engineers, to whom he left his work in his will; one of them has signed the present work in the absence of his father. Cf. Thierry Sauzeau 'Claude Masse: ingénieur-géographe de Louis XIV' in Vauban et Le Siècle de Louis XIV, L'Actualité Poitou-Charentes (2007), 77, pp.48-50.

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