Abbé Clouet


A most remarkable set of wall maps, visually rich works, each of the maps is surrounded by 20 vignettes amid elaborate border work. Most of the scenes depicted in the vignettes are historical episodes, thereby providing a window into 18th-century Europe's perspective on other cultures.


The dramatically composed world map, in which mythological figures support the two hemispheres, is an exception to the above. Its vignettes depict episodes from the Old Testament beginning with the Creation. The map, however, bows to modernity by including the tracks of the major Pacific voyages: Le Maire, Magellan, and Tasman. It is an excellent view of the world as it was known just prior to the great transoceanic explorations that were being launched at the time the map was issued.


The vignettes on the remaining four maps depict historical episodes with the exception of the map of Asia, which includes some Old Testament scenes as well. Two of the illustrations on this work involve Jerusalem. The Americas map has a number of interesting features. The large Sea of the West in the northwestern U. S. and Canada that so enamored French cartographers is fully present here. As expected, Canadian territory is depicted with exceeding generosity, while that of the English colonies is portioned out quite meanly.
Interestingly, the maps' titles and all the captions beneath the vignettes are given in French and Spanish, indicating that the publisher Mondhare sought a market beyond France for these impressive works. A magnificent set and very well preserved. Clouet followed in the footsteps of Nolin and other French cartographers, reissuing these grand wallmaps in the latter part of the 18th century to decorate the houses of Paris and more unusually Spain.

 

CARTOGRAPHERS:
Jean Baptiste Louis Clouet (c. 1730 - 1790) was a French cartographer active in the mid to late 18thcentury. Clouet, who held the post of Royal Geographer of the Academie des Sciences de Rouen, had offices in Paris and Cadiz. Clouet's most important work is his Geographie Moderne, which was published in various editions from 1776 - 1793. Clouet also produced a series of stunning and highly decorative wall maps depicting the various continents.


Louis-Joseph Mondhare (fl. c. 1750 - 1790) was a French map and print publisher active in Paris during the latter part of the 18th century. Mondhare maintained offices in Paris and Cadiz. In the 1880s Mondhare partnered with Chez Jean to produce a series of wall maps by Jean Baptiste Louis Clouet - these were among the most decorative maps of the late 18th century.