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VAUGONDY, Gilles Robert de

1688 - 1766

Gilles and Didier Robert De Vaugondy were father and son, respectively, and produced their atlas, globes and maps in concert. In many cases they did not use the initials of their first names when signing their maps, so it can be unclear at times who made a given map. On some maps fils or filio follows the name, designating its author as the son. In other instances, the authorship can be determined by the distinctive way each signed his maps: the father normally used "M.Robert," leaving off the last name, and the son, "Robert de Vaugondy." The Atlas Universal [Paris, 1757] was one of the most important 18th century atlases and one of the great achievements of the French Enlightenment.

The Vaugondy's employed strict standards for including maps in this atlas and in many cases subjected them to astronomically derived readings for latitude and longitude. Moreover, 'their frequent use of eighteenth century sources, often from the 1740s, provided their atlas with up-to-date information. While their preference was for maps that bad been surveyed in the field and maps published in the region itself, they did not hesitate to turn to older sources when more recent maps were found to be lacking." (Pedley, p. 61)

For their maps of Canada and South America, the Vaugondy's had access to sources held by the Depot de la Marine, the official French repository for maritime-related information. Like Ortelius and Mercator before them, the Vaugondy`s listed the sources of their maps, which is of incalculable benefit to anyone seeking to understand not only their maps but also those of the period.

"A feature of the maps of the Atlas Universel which attracted unanimous praise from critics was the cartouches." (Pedley, p. 64) A number of artisans worked on their design and engraving; several cartouches were engraved and signed by the Haussard sisters.

Among the most pictorial cartouches are the four found on maps showing the postal routes of Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal. They depict postal carriers en route in richly detailed settings.

Click here to see maps published by the Vaugondy family.





Dictionary of map makers An illustrated list of makers of maps, charts and globes from the earliest time of cartography to present.

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