Auction 148, Lot 9

"[Lot of 4] Amerique [and] Afrique [and] Asie [and] Europe", Desnos, Louis Charles

Subject: Continents

Period: 1770 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

20.8 x 14.3 inches
52.8 x 36.3 cm

Each map from this matching set of continents is flanked by panels of French text describing the continent. The maps and text are surrounded in beautifully engraved rococo borders, printed from a separate plate. Overall dimensions given; maps each measure approximately 9.5 x 11". Louis Charles Desnos (1725-1805) was an important instrument, globe and map maker in Paris during the eighteenth century. In addition to his publishing work aimed at the French market, Desnos also held the position of Royal Globe maker to the King of Denmark. He worked with several other publishers including Zannoni and Louis Brion de la Tour and produced a great many cartographic works including numerous atlases and a series of decorative wall maps.

A. Amerique. Interesting map of the Americas with the northwest coast of North America extremely truncated. The British colonies are confined to the eastern seaboard, France controls most of the interior, and Spain possesses Mexico and the West Coast. South America shows Portugal in possession of Brazil, France controlling Guiana and Spain in possession of the rest of the continent. Sparse interior details.

B. Afrique. This map of Africa gives minimal interior detail, with the exception of a few rivers, lakes and mountain ranges. The source of the Nile is shown as twin lakes in the Mts. De la Lune (Mountains of the Moon), well north of the Equator.

C. Asie. Numerous areas within the Asian continent are still misshapen, including a very narrow Kamchatka, an oversized Hokkaido, and a large bay depicted in the Indochina Peninsula. New Guinea is depicted attached to an oddly shaped Australia, which is simply labeled as Partie du Continent Inconnu.

D. Europe. Although only a few rivers, mountains and place names are shown in the interior of the continent, the boundaries highlight the political situation in Europe during the late 18th century. The German Empire encompasses most of central Europe, extending south to the Adriatic Sea and east nearly to the Black Sea. Poland includes much of the Baltic states and extends south through much of the Ukraine. Finland is divided between Russia and Sweden, and the Turkish Empire includes the majority of the Balkans and wraps to the northern shore of the Black Sea.


Condition: B+

Original color on watermarked paper with light soiling.

Estimate: $800 - $950


Closed on 2/19/2014