Map of the South and North American Continent
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Jean Baptiste Louis Abbé Clouet (1730 - 1790) & Louis Joseph Mondhare
Carte d'Amerique Devisee en ses Principaux Pays...
Hand-colored copper plate engraving
Framed to Full Museum Specifications: 53 x 42 inches
Beginning in the 17th Century, wall maps became objects of art for the educated and affluent classes of Europe, especially in France and other parts of Western Europe where the merchant classes began to look outside of Europe for trading partners. Maps such as the present map were created for the salons and private libraries, as a means of demonstrating worldliness and education about the world beyond Europe's shores. The present map combines a modern depiction of America as known immediately prior to the Voyages of James Cook became well documented. The Mer de L'Ouest (Bay of the West) remains, a cartographic myth which was just then being dispelled by Cook and other French and English explorers in the 1770s and 1780s. The alternate theory of the region, which Clouet attributes to Russian explorers, is depicted in the upper left corner of the map proper. The cartographic content of the map is largely based upon the work of Nicholas De L'Isle and Philippe Buache, the major French cartographers of the 18th Century.
With finely engraved, decorative borders containing twenty vignettes with scenes from American history mainly concerning different aspects of its discovery, Indian and Colonial history, all in full color, each with a short text in French and Spanish.
The map was issued in 1788, a period in which France was feeling a great lift in its spirits toward commercial opportunities in the New World, having recently helped the Americans liberate themselves from England and create the United States. French interests in Louisiana were again running high and French investors were very actively pouring money into speculative real estate investments in the Ohio Valley and Mississippi Valley.
A finely colored example of this striking map.