Auction 134, Lot 749

"Atlas Universel de Geographie Physique, Politique, Statistique et Mineralogique...Cinquieme Partie - Amer. Merid.", Vandermaelen, Philippe Marie Guillaume

Subject: Atlases, South America

Period: 1827 (published)


Color: Hand Color

15 x 21.5 inches
38.1 x 54.6 cm

Vandermaelen was the son of a wealthy industrialist who abandoned his father's business to follow a career in cartography. His goal was to produce the first atlas ever published in which every map was drawn on the same projection and to the same scale (1: 1,641,836), with each map covering an area of approximately 20 degrees of longitude (from Paris) and 6 degrees of latitude. Because of the consistent scale and projection, the maps could be joined together to form a huge globe that would measure over 25 feet in diameter. Vandermaelen had the only known globe constructed from his maps, requiring a special room for its display. It was also the first lithographic atlas ever published. There was one edition of the atlas, published in 1825-27, and the subscription list shows that only 810 copies were sold. Koeman called his Atlas Universel, "One of the most remarkable world atlases ever made. Far ahead of its time."

This is a complete and overall fine example of Vandermaelen's atlas of South American (Volume Fifth of Six). Each large double page folio map is beautifully hand colored and measures approximately 22" x 19". The index map, "Carte D’Assemblage de L’Americque Meridionle" shows the extent of every map within South America. This index map is normally bound as the first map, in this atlas it is bound before map No. 12. An additional unnumbered map is the stunning "Tableau Provinsiore d'Assemblage…" which is a detailed map of North America extending from southern Canada, through Central America and south to beyond the basin of the Amazon River. Mexico controls the Southwest and Texas, which is named. Locates the Presidio, St. Antonio and Guarda y Barca. Arkansas Territory extends west to Texas, a thin New Mexico region is located within Mexico, the very large Northwest Territories is to the west of Lake Michigan, and Michigan is wildly misshapen. Plus there are 45 numbered maps with two No.4 - the second being No. 4 (ibis) and two No. 16. All maps show remarkable detail of each region. Map No. 28 is misprinted as No. 18. The atlas is complete and contains 47 charts, each surrounded by a bold keyboard-style border. Bound in original brown speckled boards with quarter brown calf on tip and spine with raised ribs. Original red and black leather labels on spine with gilt titling. Finely marbled end papers. Two title pages, forty-seven maps. The fine lithography was accomplished from Paris by H. Ode. A rare and remarkable atlas, complete in all regards, that should be in any serious atlas collection.


Condition: B+

A stunning example with all maps beautiful examples in generally fine condition with just a couple showing light offsetting as a result to the dark, early impression. The covers are generally very nice but with tips rubbed as is the edge of spine. Some scattered foxing to the title pages.

Estimate: $7,000 - $9,000

Sold for: $4,000

Closed on 12/1/2010