Catalog Archive
Auction 120, Lot 262

"Plan du Port de St. Diego en Californie… [on sheet with] Plan du Port et du Department de St. Blas…", La Perouse, Comte Jean F. Galoup, de

Subject: San Diego, California

Period: 1797 (circa)

Publication: Atlas du Voyage de La Perouse

Color: Hand Color

13.25 x 19.25 inches
33.7 x 48.9 cm

Jean-Francois de Galoup, Comte de La Perouse commanded a French scientific expedition to the Pacific in 1785-88. Recognized as one the foremost naval commanders and navigators in France, he was selected by King Louis XVI to complete Captain James Cook's exploration of the western Pacific. The British Admiralty provided scientific equipment to measure variations in magnetic compass readings and with the latest instruments for determining longitude. La Perouse explored the coasts of the Gulf of Alaska and northwestern North America in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. After leaving America his expedition continued on to Asia where he explored from Macao to Kamchatka and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. La Perouse was meticulous in sending copies of his extensive logs, maps and surveying information via other ships as well as overland. La Perouse's last contact was in the spring of 1788 with a British ship in Botany Bay, Australia. The expedition was never heard from again. Considered one of the greatest French voyages, the French Government decided to publish the story of the expedition when it became clear they had been lost. An English edition was published in London.

A pair of scarce and important early charts of San Diego and San Blas are printed on one sheet and were based on the surveys of Juan Pantoja. Based out of San Blas, Pantoja, a captain of the Manila trade for Spain, visited much of today's California coast to include San Diego, Monterrey and San Francisco, where he surveyed each harbor. He shared these surveys with La Perouse, who probably never actually entered the San Diego harbor, relying instead on Pantoja's chart. The map names the Presidio de St. Diego as well as several ranches and missions. This is the earliest obtainable printed map of San Diego, predated only by Dalrymple's map and a few other unobtainable charts. San Blas was the primary Spanish port on the west coast of Mexico. From the first French edition of the atlas. Both charts are expertly engraved by Aubert. A superb example of a rarely offered and seminal map of San Diego.

References: Rumsey 2058.

Condition: B+

A couple small edge separations and an unobtrusive professional repair in bottom of San Blas map. Later coloring.

Estimate: $350 - $400

Sold for: $250

Closed on 7/18/2007