This is a fine 1751 map of Westphalia, Germany by Robert de Vaugondy. It covers from Liege, Belgium north to Bremen, Germany and east as far as Hameln. The entire region is depicted in extraordinary detailed, offering both topographical and political information, with forests and mountains beautifully rendered in profile. An inset in the top left quadrant depicts the East Frisia or Ostfriesland coastal region as well as the County of Oldenburg
Westphalia was one of the 'imperial circles' created by the Holy Roman Empire in the 1500s. These groupings of regional territories were designed for defensive, tax, and administrative purposes within the Empire. The map outlines the feudal Duchies and Counties of Westphalia as they were before being joined with other Prussian states in 'The Kingdom of Westphalia,' briefly a French vassal state under Napoleon from 1807-1816. The area was made famous in 1648 when the 'Peace of Westphalia' was signed in Munster and Osnabruck, ending the Thirty Years' War.
A large decorative title cartouche appears near the left border of the map.
Title: Cercle de Westphalie divise en tous ses etats et souverainetes.
Size: circa 20 by 23 Inches
Condition: Good hand colored and folded map, with minor aging (Please see pictures)
Gilles (1688 - 1766) and Didier (c. 1723 - 1786) Robert de Vaugondy were map publishers, engravers, and cartographers active in Paris during the mid-18th century. The father and son team were the inheritors to the important Sanson cartographic firm whose stock supplied much of their initial material. Graduating from Sanson's map's Gilles, and more particularly Didier, began to produce their own substantial corpus of work. Vaugondys were well respected for the detail and accuracy of their maps in which they made excellent use of the considerable resources available in 18th century Paris to produce the most accurate and fantasy-free maps possible. The Vaugondys compiled each map based upon their own superior geographic knowledge, scholarly research, the journals of contemporary explorers and missionaries, and direct astronomical observation - moreover, unlike many cartographers of this period, they commonly took pains to reference their source material. Nevertheless, even in 18th century Paris geographical knowledge was severely limited - especially regarding those unexplored portions of the world, including the poles, the Pacific northwest of America, and the interior of Africa and South America. In these areas the Vaugondys, like their rivals De L'Isle and Buache, must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. Vaugondy's feuds with other cartographers, most specifically Phillipe Buache, resulted in numerous conflicting papers being presented before the Academie des Sciences, of which both were members. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver.
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