''MAPPE-MONDE…'' Brion de la Tour Paris: Louis Charles Desnos, c. 1766. Fine engraved map with original hand-coloring – surrounds later color.(Map: 9 1/8 x 10 3/8’’ – Sight: 15x21’’)
This attractive historical map was published in Paris at a time when France was leading both in scientific mapping and cartographic artistry. It shows the world with continents in contrasting colors. Of particular note is the mythical ''Mer de l’Ouest'' in the vicinity of Vancouver.
The Northwest Passage is still shown plausible with the ''Baye de Baffin'' connected by river and lake to the Pacific Ocean. This was derived from the apocryphal voyages of the Spanish Admiral Bartholome de Fonte and Juan de Fuca. (According to legend, de Fonte sailed north along the Pacific coast discovering several bays and rivers in the Northwest. Supposedly, while sailing inland, he came in contact with a ship claiming to have traveled west from Boston. De Fuca claimed discovery of a large inland sea in this same region of the Northwest. For years map makers speculated on various theories - some wildly imaginative).
The two hemispheres are supported on the shoulders of two men. Panels of French text are on either side of the map and surrounded by an elaborately engraved border with cherubs studying the earth and heavens. The map and border were printed from two separate plates and then assembled with the text panels for the atlas.