The Empire of Japan
By ROBERT DE VAUGONDY, Gilles, 1757
L’Empire du Japon. Divise en sept principles, et subdivise en soixante et six Royaumes. Par. Le S.r Robert Geog. Ord. du Roi. Avec Privilege. 1750
- Author: ROBERT DE VAUGONDY, Gilles
- Publication place: [Paris
- Publisher: chez les auteurs, Boudet]
- Publication date: 1750 [but 1757].
- Physical description: Engraved map with outline hand colour.
- Dimensions: 544 by 769mm. (21.5 by 30.25 inches).
- Inventory reference: 15812
As Pedley reports, the ‘Atlas Universel’ was the first atlas ever sold in France by subscription. It also included an introduction by Didier, ‘Essai sur l’Historie de Geographie’, a history of geographic thought and cartographic activity from antiquity to the eighteenth century, which had already appeared in book form in 1755. For this atlas, the essay also included an analytical description of their map sources, and a list of subscribers.
The Robert de Vaugondy family of cartographers was “securely based on the stock in trade of the great Nicolas Sanson, inherited in 1730 by Didier’s father Gilles” (Katherine Swift). Gilles entered the map trade rather late in life, being already 46 when appointed ‘geographe du roi’ in 1734. “He was a professor of mathematics who, according to later sources, had travelled a great deal in his youth. After befriending the ailing and aging Pierre Moullard-Sanson in 1730, he became one of the three heirs to Moullard-Sanson’s geographical ‘fonds’ along with Jean Fremont, a lawyer, and Jacques-Simon Perrier, a priest. Robert and Fremont bought out Perrier’s share of the Sanson stock, and Robert added to this collection by buying the plates of Nicolas Sanson from Jean Mariette in 1733. Robert’s earliest map dates from 1731 (‘Cours de la Meuse’, in ‘l’Historie de Verdun’, 1745); much of his early work appeared as maps supplementing texts of books. Nonetheless, it is fair to say with Buache, that Gilles Robert de Vaugondy mostly issued Sanson maps with minor modifications. It was his son Didier (1723–1786) who wrote the theoretical books, taught geography and mathematics, presented memoires to the Academy of Sciences, as well as publishing new maps” (Mary Sponberg Pedley, ‘New Light on an Old Atlas’, for Imago Mundi, 1984, volume 36, pages 48–63).
- Hubbard 101.1.
- Hubbard, J. and Mihama, Y. (2012). Japoniæ insulæ. Houten: HES & De Graaf Publishers BV.