DELISLE, Guillaume (1675-1726). MANUSCRIPT MAPS. Paris, 1720.
580 mm diameter. Two round manuscripts on paper, probably a combination of Delisle's autograph and his workshop, the first of the Western Hemisphere mounted on inner cover of case, the second a World Map with North Polar perspective turning within recessed panel with graduated frame border and a moveable brass pointer, each map lightly varnished. (First map with abrasion at center from pointer mounting screw, some soiling and rubbing associated from pointer.) Round casing of gold-tooled midnight blue morocco with the arms of Louis XV (Olivier 2495.2), by LUC-ANTOINE BOYET (some chipping along edges, several hinge screws lacking). Provenance: Louis XV of France (1710-74); Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild (1836-1905, by descent to); Baron Alphonse de Rothschild (1878-1942) and his wife Clarice (1894-1967).
DEDICATION MANUSCRIPT MAP FOR LOUIS XV OF FRANCE, WITH A PRESENTATION INSCRIPTION IN THE CARTOUCHE FROM DELISLE: "Au Roy par son tres humble rews obeisant serviteur et fidele sujet Delisle premier Geographe de Sa M.te 1720." Louis XV was ten years old when he received this. He was the great-grandson of Louis XIV, who died in 1715. Until Louis XV's majority, France was ruled by the Regent, the Duke of Orléans, Louis XIV's nephew. Guillaume Delisle was appointed Royal Geographer in 1718 and private geography professor to the 8-year-old king. Luc-Antoine Boyet was one of the two royal binders (from 1698 until his death in 1733).
Seymour I. Schwartz and Ralph E. Ehrenberg describe Delisle as "a pioneer in scientific cartography and perhaps the greatest mapmaker of his time" (p.133). Delisle has provided the young King with a concentrated overview of world geography, the first map showing North and South America. Though lacking in the detail of Delisle's 1718 Carte de la Louisiane et du Course du Mississippi, his masterpiece, the manuscript map he produces for the King two years later reflects the same principals and representations. His 1718 map was the first to accurately show the lower Mississippi and surrounding areas, and on this manuscript map the Mississippi is carefully delineated from New Orleans inland. Named are Sante Fe, Fort Louis, Illinois, Pensacola, Charlestown, Montreal, New York and Boston, as well as the territories of the Sioux, Renards (Fox), Iroquois. Hudson's and Baffin's Bays are shown at top. The countries of South America are named as are its principal rivers.
The World Map is oriented from the North Pole, with the moveable brass pointer fixed at the pole and with brass stops at 60o, 180o and 300o. Delisle has carefully drawn and named the principal countries and cities in Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East and Australia. The recent exhibition at the Library of Congress, Creating French Culture: Treasures from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France notes: "Even as a child, Louis XV was fascinated by geography. In 1718 a little print shop was set up in the Tuileries where the young king learned the rudiments of typography. There, Louis XV composed and, in part, printed this summary [Cours des principaux fleuves et rivières de l'Europe] of Guillaume Delisle's geography lessons, 'Courses of the Principal Rivers and Streams of Europe.' Much later, Louis gave his mistress, the marquise de Pompadour (b. 1721-d. 1764), an elegantly bound copy of his childish 'chef d'oeuvre.'" See lot 437 for a copy of Louis XV's book.