A composite atlas of Italy bound in red morocco with the arms of Louis, Dauphin of France, the only surviving son of King Louis XV, and the father of three kings of France
By JAILLOT, Alexis-Hubert, and others , 1753

[Composite atlas].

Europe Italy
  • Author: JAILLOT, Alexis-Hubert, and others
  • Publication place: Paris
  • Publication date: c1753
  • Physical description: Folio (540 by 430mm) 36 engraved maps on 53 map sheets, all with fine original hand-colour, (mostly double-page, four folding and one single page), red morocco, lavishly gilt, with arms of Louis Dauphin of France, spine in eight compartments separated by raised bands, gilt.
  • Inventory reference: 12202


A lavish composite atlas of Italy, bound for Louis, Dauphin of France.

Louis (1729–1765) was the only surviving son of King Louis XV of France and his wife, Queen Marie Leszczyńska. Son of the king, Louis was styled Fils de France, and as heir apparent, he became Dauphin of France. However, he died before ascending to the throne. Three of his sons became kings of France: Louis XVI (reign: 1774–1792), Louis XVIII (reign: 1814–1815; 1815–1824) and Charles X (reign: 1824–1830).

Louis from an early age was greatly interested in pursuing a military career, however, his father Louis XV would not allow his only son, then aged 15, to join in the campaign of 1744, during the War of Austrian Succession. The relationship between father and son would be irrevocably damaged, in the same year, when the young Louis disobeyed orders and came to visit his fever-ridden father at the siege of Metz. The rash action, which could have led to the death of father and son, saw a permanent souring of relations between the two; as a result the Dauphin would never see service on the battlefield.

The present work can be seen as Louis’ continued fascination with military matters. Compiled around 1753 it shows the Dauphin’s interest in Italy, a pivotal battleground during the War of Austrian Succession, which had ended in an uneasy truce in 1748. The truce would be broken in 1755 when the Seven Years War broke out; ironically a war that, although it involved all the great European powers and was waged across the globe, would see the Italian states stay neutral.

The atlas covers Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Malta. The maps range in date from 1653-1753, with the majority dating from the first half of the eighteenth century. All but three maps (two by Homann and one by the Spanish cartographer Chafrion) are by the leading French cartographers of the day, these include De Fer, Jaillot, Delisle, Du Val, Le Rouge, and Nolin.

Several of the maps are of particular note including A.F.G. Depalmeus’s maps of Malta and Gozo – one of the largest and most detailed maps of Malta published in the eighteenth century. One must also mention Depalmeus’ plan of Valetta, also present here. Pere Placide de St Helen (1648-1734) large five sheet map the River Po, charts its course from west of Turin to its mouth near Venice. Also of note is Jose Chafrion’s ‘Topographica de la Liguria’, a large map on eight sheets, published in Milan in 1685. Chafrion (1653-1698) was a leading Spanish cartographer and military engineer working during the second half of the seventeenth century. He was stationed in Milan between 1684 and 1691. Worldcat records only three institutional examples (Bern, Switzerland, The British Library, and the BnF), with the map appearing only once at auction: Sotheby’s 1964.

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