Catalog Archive

Auction 168, Lot 325

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

Subject: San Diego, California & San Blas, Mexico

Period: 1797 (circa)

Publication: Atlas du Voyage de la Perouse

Color: Black & White

13 x 19.4 inches
33 x 49.3 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.

This 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. A rarely offered and seminal map of San Diego.


Condition: B+

A nice impression on paper with a watermark of a coat of arms emblazoned with the initials "AM." There is minor toning, scattered foxing that is mostly confined to the blank margins, soiling at bottom right, and a crease at top left.

Estimate: $300 - $375

Sold for: $175

Closed on 6/6/2018