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Maritime atlas of the Middle East, Africa, Indian Ocean, East Indies, Far East and South Pacific
a magnificent display of colonial power ca. 1780

APRÈS DE MANNEVILLETTE, Jean-Baptiste d’.
Le neptune oriental, ...
Paris, Antoine Guénard Demonville; Brest, Romain-Nicolas Malassis, 1775.
With:
(2) APRÈS DE MANNEVILLETTE, Jean-Baptiste d'. Supplément au neptune oriental, ...
Paris, Antoine Guénard Demonville; Brest, Romain-Nicolas Malassis, 1781.
2 text volumes bound as 1, plus 1 atlas volume. Imperial folio (55 x 42 cm). With engraved frontispiece and 72 large engraved nautical charts (33 double-page and 39 single-page, plate size about 50 x 68 and 48 x 35 cm). Uniform contemporary mottled, gold-tooled calf, with the crowned French royal arms on each board and "Conseil de la Marine" below it on each front board. Rebacked, with most of the original backstrips laid down.
(3) APRÈS DE MANNEVILLETTE, Jean-Baptiste d'. Instructions sur la navigation des Indes orientales et de la Chine, pour servir au Neptune oriental, dédié au roi ,...
Paris, Jean-Claude Dezauche (colophon: Brest, printed by Romain-Nicolas Malassis), 1775.
(4) APRÈS DE MANNEVILLETTE, Jean-Baptiste d'. Supplément au Neptune oriental, ...
Paris, Antoine Guénard Demonville; Brest, Romain-Nicolas Malassis, 1781.
Large 4to (26 x 21 cm). 2 volumes bound as 1. "Maroquin"-pattern sheepskin (ca. 1840?), gold-tooled spine.
€ 75,000
Greatly expanded second edition, plus the rarer posthumous supplement published a year after the author's death, of one of the greatest maritime atlases in the history of French cartography, devoted to exotic regions (the Middle East including the Gulf, the African coasts, the Indian Ocean and East Indies, Southeast Asia, parts of the Chinese coast, and the Pacific islands). Each section starts with a large territorial overview map and closes in on particular area in the subsequent charts. For example the Arabian Peninsula is first displayed on a large overview map showing the coasts along the Indian ocean, which is followed by a chart of the Arabian Sea, and separate charts of the coasts along the entry to the Red Sea, the complete Red Sea, in front of Jeddah and the Arabian Gulf.
It was compiled by Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Denis d' Après de Mannevillette (1707-1780), hydrographer to the French navy, supported by the French East India Company and the Académie des Sciences. "It was at once hailed as a major achievement and welcomed by navigators throughout the world" (Cat. Nat. Mar. Mus.). D'Après continued to improve and expand it for the rest of his life, serving as director of the Company's nautical chart publishing office from 1762. One rarely finds two copies of Le neptune oriental with the same make-up, but the present copy shows its full extent immediately after D'Après's death. The whole is not only a magnificent collection of sea charts, but also an essential key to understanding European colonial power ca. 1780.
The present copy of the Neptune may have first belonged to the Secrétairerie d'État. In 1806 Napoleon revived the Conseil de la Marine, which had been replaced by the Secrétairerie d'État in 1723, so those words must have been added in 1806. Also with bookplates. With a couple charts slightly browned (one of them also with an unintended crease), a few pages in the Instructions (mostly in its supplement) with a marginal worm trail, and an occasional very minor hole or spot, but generally in very good condition (most leaves of the Instructions fine). The Neptune has been expertly rebacked as noted, with the loss of parts of the backstrips, but the bindings of the Neptune and Instructions are otherwise very good. A splendid maritime atlas, beautifully bound for the French navy.
Cordier, Sinica 134; Cat. Nat. Mar. Mus. 204; Howgego A107; Phillips & Le Gear 3166, 3167 & 3168.
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Africa  >  Cartography & Exploration | East & Southern Africa
Asia  >  Cartography & Exploration | India & Ceylon | Indonesia / Dutch East Indies | Southeast Asia
Cartography & exploration  >  Africa | Asia | Atlases, Charts, Maps & Globes | Middle East & Islamic World | Navigation
Europe  >  France, Greece & Italy
Maritime history  >  Navigation
Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabian Peninsula & Gulf States | Cartography & Exploration