Catalog Archive
Auction 134, Lot 750

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

Subject: Atlases, North 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 fine example of Vandermaelen's highly desirable atlas on North America (Volume Fourth of Six). Each large, double-page folio map measures approximately 22" x 19" and is beautifully hand colored. The first is the index map, "Carte d’Assemblage de l’Americque Septentle" that shows the extent of each map in the atlas keyed with the map number. The next 82 maps are numbered No. 1 though 76 and show remarkable detail of each region. There are two maps each numbered 38, 39, 41, 46, 47, and 57. The complete atlas contains 2 title pages and 83 charts, each surrounded by a bold block-style border. Bound in original brown speckled boards with half brown calf on tips and spine with raised ribs. Original red and black leather labels on spine with gilt title and volume information. Finely marbled end papers. The fine lithography was accomplished by H. Ode of Paris. A rare and remarkable atlas, complete in all regards, that should be in any serious atlas collection.

References: Phillips (A) No. 749; Wheat (TMW) #378.

Condition: B+

A stunning example with the majority of the maps beautiful examples in generally fine condition with just a few showing light offsetting as a result to the dark, early impression. Maps 9, 22, and 65 are lightly toned with small speckled foxing spots. The second No. 41 has some toning or staining and paper cockling along upper margin. The covers are generally very nice with tips a little bumped and spine edge rubbed with lower half of spine split at front cover. Some scattered foxing to the title pages.

Estimate: $12,000 - $14,000

Sold for: $8,000

Closed on 12/1/2010