Folio (21 6/8 x 16 4/8 inches). Manuscript table of contents. 23 EXCEPTIONALLY FINE engraved double-page or folding maps on 27 sheets by Guillaume de la Haye, mostly hand-coloured in outline, cartouches plain (bound without a title-page which is not always present, a few small tears and rust-hole in map 9 of Greece, map 25 of South America southern portion torn with loss along the right-hand fold affecting the map). FINE contemporary French or Spanish red morocco, richly gilt with a broad border of leafy sprays enclosed within a rolled border of flowers and foliage, the inner panel decorated with a roll of drawer-handle tools with an urn of flowers at each inner corner, in the centre of each cover is a fine gilt stamped coat of arms of Charles III, King of Spain, the spine with eight compartments, green morocco lettering-pieces in two, the others each with a central stamp of the Castle of Castille, Dutch gilt and floral endpapers, all edges gilt.
Provenance: With the supra libros of Charles de Bourbon et Farnese (Don Carlos, 1716-1788), infant of Spain, 2nd son of Phillip V, King of Spain (Charles VII of the Two Sicilies); acceded as Charles III, King of Spain, 1759; Christopher Henry Beaumont Pease, Lord Wardington (1924-2005), Library of Important Atlases and Geographies, his sale Sothebys' 18th October 2005, lot 15.
A MAGNIFICENT COMPOSITE ATLAS BOUND FOR CHARLES III OF SPAIN ON HIS ACCESSION TO THE THRONE IN 1759.
"Charles succeeded to the throne in Spain in 1759, the same date as the latest map in the collection, which would have been bound presumably just before his accession" (Wardington Catalogue). The atlas contains a world map by Robert de Vaugondy (dated 1752), Europe by G. Delisle (a later state by P. Buache dated 1745), 12 maps by Anville on 19 sheets (dated between 1743 and 1759) and 6 maps by J.N. Delisle from his Atlas russicus, 1745. Renowned as one Europe's "enlightened" despots, it was under Charles III's reign that Spain began to be recognised as a nation rather than a collection of kingdoms and territories. During his reign Spain gained a National Anthem: in 1770 he declared that the "Marcha Real" was to be used in all official ceremonies. He chose the colours of the present flag of Spain (red and yellow): originally the flag of the military navy introduced by the king on 28 May 1785, the previous white flag of the Bourbons with the arms of the sovereign looked too similar to the flags of other nations. He created Madrid as the capital city with a network of coherent roads converging there.
Following the death of Guillaume Delisle, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville continued the line of progressive French cartographers which had begun with Nicolas Sanson in the previous century. He was a scrupulous editor of maps and his work spanned most of the eighteenth century. He was concerned equally with the classical and modern worlds and he was continually updating the geographical content of his maps. cf. Shirley, British Library T.ANV-2a-2d (all without title-pages).