Antique maps of France

For sale below is a selection of beautiful antique landscape prints, illustrations and antique maps of France, French regions, and towns. If you are looking for a particular location or cartographer, try the search box on the right hand side or feel free to contact me as I have many more in stock.

To read about prints, views and antique maps of France, click here.

Antique maps of France

(scroll down for landscape prints)

Landscape prints and illustrations


About prints, maps and views of France

The most prominent French cartographer in the 16th century was Oronce Fine.

Fine produced a heart-shaped map of the world in 1519. This was copied by Apian in 1530. In 1531 he drew a double heart-shaped projection of the world for De Novus Orbis for Grynaeus, and it was also published by Munster in Basel. This map was copied by many geographers including Mercator.The first series of maps of the provinces of France appeared in The Theatrum of Ortelius.

The great School of French Geographers was initiated by Nicolas Sanson (1600-67) and ran from the second half of the 17th century until the later part of the 18th century. He had three sons, Nicolas (died 1648), Guillaume (died 1703), and Adrien (died 1708). They were succeeded by Alexis Hubert Jaillot, who had collaborated with the younger Sansons. In 1681 Jaillot published his Atlas Nouveau, which had new editions in 1689, 1691 and 1692, and continued in print untill 1750. Pierre Duval (1619-83) son-in-law of Sanson, was another noted cartographer of the period.

France reached the height of its influence in the 18th century. Scientific mapping from exact ground observation commenced, and speculative cartography was finally abandoned.

In 1744 Triangulation started. Nicolas de Fer (1646-1720) was an engraver and geographer with a prolific output. He produced “Les Forces de l’Europe ou descriptions des principlales villes” in 1696, later re-issued by Mortier in Amsterdam. The two Jean Baptiste Nolins (father and son) also produced atlases and maps of the world.

But the best known figure at the beginning of the eighteenth century was Guillaume De l’Isle (1675-1726), a child prodigy who had learned maths and astronomy from Cassini and geography from his father. He published his first Atlas in 1700. His maps were re-published by Covens and Mortier in Amsterdam and also by his nephew, Phillipe Buache (1700-1773). One of the most celebrated of French geographers was Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville (1697-1782). He spent his whole life studying geography and acquiring maps. He had a predilection for ancient geography and editions of his “Geographie Ancienne et Abregee” appeared in 1769, 1775 and 1810. English translations appeared in 1775, 1795, 1801, 1810 and 1820.

Another famous family was the Robert de Vaugondys: Giles (1688-1766) and Didier (1723-86). Their production of the “Atlas Universel” in 1757 was supported by the court, headed by Madame Pompadour, and over 600 subscribers. From the scientific point of view the Cassinis who began using the technique of triangulation, producing the Carte Geometrique in 1789 on 24 sheets.

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© Kitty Liebreich 2000-2014
Prices are quoted unframed (except where noted)
and exclude p&p,
all items subject to availability.
Items guaranteed over 100 yrs old unless marked.