VERRIER, Ambrose & François PERRIER
[North America - Pair of Maps] Partie Septentrionale Des Possessions Angloise en Amerique. Pour servire d'intelligence a la guerre présente entre les Anglois et leurs Colonies Dresée sur les Meilleurs Carte du Pays traduite de l'Anglois, de Michel à Paris à l'Hotel de Soubise [and] Partie Meridionale Des Possessions Angloise en Amerique. Pour servire d'intelligence a la guerre présente entre les Anglois et leurs Colonies Dresée sur les Meilleurs Carte du Pays traduite de l'Anglois à Paris à l'Hotel de Soubise
Paris: R.-J. Julien, Rue du Chaume à l'Hôtel de Soubise, 1778. Copper-engraved maps, with original outline colour, in excellent condition. Sheet size: of each 21 1/2 x 29 7/8 inches.
An extremely rare and beautifully engraved pair of maps of the American Colonies depicted during the Revolutionary War
This very elegant matched pair of maps, when considered together, embraces the Atlantic seaboard of America from Georgia up to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and into the interior to include the Appalachians and the Ohio Valley. The two maps divide horizontally at a point just south of New York City. These maps very rarely appear as a complete pair, as originally intended, and the southern sheet seems to be exceptionally scarce. They were produced by Verrier and Perrier, who assumed management of Roch-Josèphe Julien's establishment in 1777. Described as "the first true map shop in Paris," it was located at the Hôtel de Soubise, a magnificent palace that was an architectural jewel of the rococo period.
Verrier and Perrier responded to the French public's great demand for maps of America following their country's entry into the Revolutionary War in support of the American cause, pursuant to the Treaty of Alliance of February, 1778, a diplomatic success realised by the efforts of Benjamin Franklin. Like other French cartographers, Verrier and Perrier faced great challenges in devising their maps, as their nation lacked independent North American cartographic sources since its effective expulsion from the continent in 1763 following the Seven Years War. Records show that in March, 1778 they wrote to England's most eminent cartographer, William Faden requesting new material. They then went to great effort and expense to produce this magnificent matched pair of maps based on John Mitchell's A Map of the British & French Dominions in North America (1755), which was by far the era's most influential map of the subject.
This pair of maps were amongst the first and most detailed, and certainly one of the finest French cartographic representations of the entire theatre of the Revolutionary War. At the time that they were made, the French were sending the naval force of the Comte D'Estaing to assist the Americans, who although having bested the British in New England, were facing renewed threats from Britain's Royal Navy. The British had effective control of Canada, New York City and Newport, Rhode Island, but were preparing a dramatic southern offensive which would see them seizing Savannah, Georgia in December, 1778. While the initial endeavors of the Franco-American alliance did not turn out as planned, the intervention of the Comte de Rochambeau proved to be a decisive element in securing the ultimate victory of the Americans, an outcome effectively secured at the Battle of Yorktown in October, 1781. Both of the map sheets are adorned with highly elegant cartouches, the one on the top sheet features an Indian maiden astride laurel boughs, and the one on the lower sheet evinces a nautical theme.
Sellers & Van Ee, Maps & Charts of North America & West Indies , 161; McCorkle, New England in Early Printed Maps, 778.2 (top sheet only); cf. Pedley, 'Maps, War and Commerce: Business Correspondence with the London Map Firm of Thomas Jefferys and William Faden,' Imago Mundi 48.