(Paris: chez l'auteur, an IV ). 520 x 365 mm. (20 1/2 x 14 1/2"). Without the (oft-missing) title page. FIRST EDITION.
Very attractive recent period-style marbled calf, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with iris centerpiece surrounded by a lozenge of small tools, leafy branch at corners, brown morocco label. WITH 72 DETAILED DOUBLE-PAGE MAPS OF PARIS ARRONDISSMENTS engraved by P. T. Bartholomé and A. T. Mathieu. Without the (frequently missing) portrait of Verniquet. Maps stamped on verso with Verniquet’s name. Millard I, 161; Phillips LeGear 8492; Tourneux II, 869. A little browning and foxing at edges throughout, one plate with inconspicuous one-inch tear to lower corner (not affecting image), another plate with a seven-inch faint dampstain to one edge, other trivial imperfections, but generally in excellent condition internally—the maps clean and reasonably fresh (though never crisp because printed on soft paper)—and in a deluxe new binding.
The magnum opus of architect and cartographer Edme Verniquet (1727-1804), this is the first reliable topographical depiction of Paris. Taking four years to complete, it is the result of trigonometric surveys of the city involving some 50 engineers and draftsmen, all undertaken at Verniquet's own expense. The atlas has served as the basis for all subsequent serious topographical representations of Paris. Verniquet had learned surveying from his father in Burgundy before moving to Paris to work with Buffon on the Jardin des Plantes, for which he designed the gazebo and the amphitheater. The sections here are designed to fit together into one enormous map that would measure approximately 13 x 10 feet. The engravings include a very decorative title cartouche supported by allegorical figures and surrounded by putti, as well as a comprehensive listing of streets and landmarks. The maps are arranged from east to west and north to south, beginning in Montmartre and ending in Montparnasse. The atlas is reminiscent of the "Paris by Arrondissement" pocket maps used by the modern tourist: it provides a detailed guide to the many small, twisting streets that seem to change names every few blocks. Many of the streets and landmarks will be familiar to the modern user, although some have changed considerably since Baron Haussman's 19th century urban renewal project. (Lhi21070)