The French geographer Jean Baptiste d'Anville's archives (1697-1782): armchair mapping in different production contexts

TitreThe French geographer Jean Baptiste d'Anville's archives (1697-1782): armchair mapping in different production contexts
Type de publicationArticle de colloque/conférence
Année de publication2009
AuteursLucile Haguet
Nom du colloqueMaps, Myths and Narratives. 23rd International Conference on the History of Cartography
Date de la réunion2009/07/13
OrganisateurInternational Conference on the History of Cartography
Lieu du colloqueKøbenhavn, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Den Sorte Diamant

The Jean-Baptiste d’Anville’s method (1697-1782) : Map making Egypt between the cartographical turn and the Expédition d’EgypteThe methods of French geographer Jean-Baptiste d’Anville were as famous as mysterious in the 18th century.His maps were considered as the most accurate of that time event hough he never travelled, even in France. This project will be ananalysis of his mapmaking methods which allowed him to draw very precise maps with accurate astronomical positions without travelling or using scientific tools. The only tool he used was a compass. In fact, d’Anville made no mystery about his method : he described it widely in many Mémoires that were associated with his maps, their purpose being to justify the results achieved by the geographer. Furthermore, he collected about 10500 printed and manuscript maps which allowed him to improve his own maps. Fortunately, this collection was never dispatched but was kept within the Bibliothèque Nationale de France under the cotation GeDD. 2987. Sowe have the rare opportunity to study the whole map archives of a geographer. The BNF kept also some manuscripts of d’Anville’s maps, «mémoires» and letters. We will be able to understand the way he was elaborating his maps by analyzing the different states of his work. The topic being too wide to be developed on a simple poster, we will concentrate on only one map : the map of the ancient Egypt. We know tha tthere is enough documentation about it : maps’manuscripts (GeD.10612, GeD.10617-10619,GeD.10363), roughwork (BnF Cpl GeDD-2987 (7804,3B)), and Mémoires (Mémoires sur l’Égypte ancienne et moderne, Paris, Imprimerie royale, 1766). Moreover thismap is one of the most famous d’Anville’s work. Bonaparte went in Egyptin 1798 with a map by d’Anville. Later, the Aegyptus antiqua by d’Anville was chosen to be publishedin the first edition of the Description de l’Egypte. And if possible, it would be very interesting to compare the method used by d’Anville in Egypt with the one he used for his South American maps which were already studied by Neil Safier.