LAVOISIER, Antoine Laurent (1743-1794) and Jean tienne GUETTARD (1715-1786). Atlas minralogique de la France execut sous les ordres de Monseigneur Bertin Ministre et Secretaire d'Etat. [Paris: Dupain-Triel, 1767-] 1770.
2o (346 x 246). Calligraphic manuscript title-page, 16 FINE DOUBLE-PAGE HAND-COLORED ENGRAVED GEOLOGICAL MAPS OF VARIOUS REGIONS OF FRANCE, by Dupain-Triel after Lavoisier and Guettard, variously dated from 1766 to 1770, forested areas, rivers, roads, and geological symbols carefully colored by hand, each map with an explanatory key of mineralogical symbols and most with hand-colored vertical stratigraphical cross-sections in the lateral margins, map 11 with an uncolored "Coupe des mines.... en Lorraine" in the right-hand margin, map 14 with an uncolored view of the Vosges in the right-hand margin, 6 maps with right-hand margin left blank; the maps on guards. Maps 6, 14 and 15 with manuscript additions (of 2 or 3 symbols) to the key. (Map 16 slightly darkened in margins and with cropping to fore-edge platemarks, small inkstain to map 5, not affecting image.) Contemporary mottled calf gilt, unidentified remains of gold blocked arms at center of covers, gilt edges (the arms defaced, probably by a Revolutionary vandal, and possibly cut out from these(?) covers and reinserted, spine and board edges rubbed, corners and extremities of spine abraded); folding morocco case.
EXTREMELY RARE COLLECTION OF THE EARLIEST STATE OF LAVOISIER AND GUETTARD'S MAPS FOR THE FIRST GEOLOGICAL ATLAS. In 1767 Henri Bertin, Minister and Secretary of State responsible for mining, commissioned Lavoisier and his teacher the geologist Guettard to prepare a complete geological survey of France. After several field trips, including a 4-month journey through eastern France and part of Switzerland (see lot 484), the two commenced production of a series of geological maps. Lavoisier assumed most of the responsibility for supervising the engraving, by Dupain-Triel, "Ingnieur-Gographe du Roi". The projected atlas was to contain 230 maps. By 1770 sixteen maps had been completed, and on April 25, 1770, Guettard made a progress report to the Acadmie des Sciences. In 1777, following various political intrigues, and to the dismay of Lavoisier and Guettard, responsibility for continuation of the survey was handed over to Antoine Monnet, Inspector-General of Mines (who is thought to have gathered data for the two in 1776).
In 1780 Monnet published six of the Lavoisier-Guettard maps, along with 15 maps begun by Lavoisier and Guettard and completed by Monnet, and 10 by Monnet, under the title Atlas et description minralogiques de la France, attributing the authorship to himself and Guettard and with a long preface of his own. "All of Lavoisier's contributions were ignored... the wealth of information that had been gathered was used without his permission. The feature of showing geological strata was due to Lavoisier's initiative, a point Monnet chose to withhold. The former, angered by this treatment, protested bitterly, but to no avail. Monnet became his obstinate enemy" (Duveen and Klickstein, p. 238). Monnet published a second edition at some time after 1794, containing 14 new maps, of which all but three consisted of the previously unpublished maps by Lavoisier and Guettard.
The present collection contains the 16 maps completed betwen 1766 and 1770 by Lavoisier and Guettard. The areas covered are the provinces of central and eastern France traversed by the two in previous years: l'le de France, le Vxin, le Brie, le Valois, la Champagne, la Franche-Comt, la Lorraine, l'Alsace, and adjacent areas of Switzerland. The maps are in an early state, without numbering, and with some of the margins left blank, as described above. They correspond to the following numbers from the first and second editions: 40bis, 25, 26, 55, 41, 56bis, 27, 57, 42, 28, 60, 61, 75 (for full titles, see Duveen, Supplement, pp. 131-132). Lavoisier later stated that all the plates dated 1766 and 1767 were prepared with his assistance; five of the present maps, showing the region of Paris and parts of central France, bear these dates. Copies of the 16 plates are known to have circulated at an early date: several reviews published between 1775 and 1778 in Rozier's periodical Observations sur la physique and in the Journal de Paris announced that "the maps already completed at that time were separately available to the public at the office of Dupain-Triel... in both black and white... and colored... copies" (Duveen and Klickstein, p. 238).
The present copy, with its carefully lettered manuscript title and extremely fine coloring, was clearly prepared for presentation or exhibition, and IS LIKELY TO HAVE BEEN THE COPY USED BY GUETTARD FOR HIS PRESENTATION TO THE ACADMIE DES SCIENCES. Duveen, Supplement, lists three known bound copies of these 16 maps, of which two include an index map of France dated 1784. This copy may be the third, described as "formerly owned by the late Dr. Lemay" (p. 132).
The maps' significance lies in their innovative use of keys and symbols to depict the geological composition of the areas surveyed. "The maps of the Atlas feature the chemical symbols used by Guettard... in addition, Lavoisier used the margin of each quadrangle for a vertical section designed to show the stratigraphic composition of the earth's crust.... Although employing chemical symbols on geological maps was popular for a time, the maps of the Atlas had no close imitators; contemporaries and later geologists... found these maps to be models of observational accuracy, but the cartographic techniques of Guettard and Lavoisier were superseded by those developed in subsequent decades..." (DSB).
Duveen and Klickstein 218, Supplement, pp. 129-132; Norman 1287.