Catalog Archive
Auction 151, Lot 513

First Modern Geological Map of Paris, France

"Memoires de la Classe des Sciences Mathematiques et Physiques de l'Institut Imperial de France",

Subject: Paris, France

Period: 1811 (published)


Color: Hand Color

8.1 x 10.3 inches
20.6 x 26.2 cm

In this volume, Cuvier and Brongniart provide an expanded version of their important work on the Tertiary rocks of the Paris basin, first published in 1808, with a special part devoted to geological descriptions, maps, and sections. Their revised stratigraphic sequence included formations that were unknown in Werner's rock classification system later adopted as Tertiary after the terminology first suggested by Arduino. Geikie credits them with establishing "on a basis of accurate observation the principles palaeontological stratigraphy" by showing a definite succession among the strata using fossils for establishing geological chronology and correlating formations over distances.

Still bound into the book is their large map of the Paris basin, entitled Carte Geognostique des Environs de Paris (28 x 24") which beautifully displays geologic features in 11 colors and patterns. Gohau, Carozzi and Carozzi (A History of Geology) state that this map "was in fact the first modern geological map of France, or of a European country." Accordingly, this report and map represent a landmark in the history of geology. Also contained within this volume is Laplace's Memoire sur les Integrales Definies, et Leur Application aux Probabilities... plus papers by Mirbell, Bosc, Lelievre, Berthollet, Malus, and Legendre.

First edition, complete volume divided into two parts (347 pp. & 183 pp.) with 3 engraved plates (2 folding) and large folding map. Hardbound in full tree calf with gilt title on spine, gilt floral decorations on the front cover and blue marbled endpapers and fore-edges.


Condition: A

The map is near fine with just a hint of offsetting. Contents are clean and tight. There is a 1" split along the bottom of the front joint, the covers are lightly worn and the corners are bumped. An overall very attractive example.

Estimate: $1,400 - $1,700

Sold for: $900

Closed on 11/19/2014