About antique maps of France
The great School of French Geographers was initiated by Nicolas Sanson (1600-67) and ran from the second half of the 17th century until the later part of the 18th century. He had three sons, Nicolas (died 1648), Guillaume (died 1703), and Adrien (died 1708). They were succeeded by Alexis Hubert Jaillot, who had collaborated with the younger Sansons. In 1681 Jaillot published his Atlas Nouveau, which had new editions in 1689, 1691 and 1692, and continued in print untill 1750. Pierre Duval (1619-83) son-in-law of Sanson, was another noted cartographer of the period.
France reached the height of its influence in the 18th century. Scientific mapping from exact ground observation commenced, and speculative cartography was finally abandoned.
In 1744 Triangulation started. Nicolas de Fer (1646-1720) was an engraver and geographer with a prolific output. He produced “Les Forces de l’Europe ou descriptions des principlales villes” in 1696, later re-issued by Mortier in Amsterdam. The two Jean Baptiste Nolins (father and son) also produced atlases and maps of the world.
But the best known figure at the beginning of the eighteenth century was Guillaume De l’Isle (1675-1726), a child prodigy who had learned maths and astronomy from Cassini and geography from his father. He published his first Atlas in 1700. His maps were re-published by Covens and Mortier in Amsterdam and also by his nephew, Phillipe Buache (1700-1773). One of the most celebrated of French geographers was Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville (1697-1782). He spent his whole life studying geography and acquiring maps. He had a predilection for ancient geography and editions of his “Geographie Ancienne et Abregee” appeared in 1769, 1775 and 1810. English translations appeared in 1775, 1795, 1801, 1810 and 1820.
Another famous family was the Robert de Vaugondys: Giles (1688-1766) and Didier (1723-86). Their production of the “Atlas Universel” in 1757 was supported by the court, headed by Madame Pompadour, and over 600 subscribers. From the scientific point of view the Cassinis who began using the technique of triangulation, producing the Carte Geometrique in 1789 on 24 sheets.