TANESSE, Jacques and ROLLINSON, William. Plan of the City and Suburbs of New Orleans. New York: Charles Del Vecchio & New Orleans: Pierre Maspero, 1825.

$ 45,000.00

Single sheet, float mounted and framed (20 3/8 x 32 2/8 inches; frame size: 31 4/8 x 43 6/8 inches). Fine engraved plan of New Orleans by William Rollinson after Tanesse (some discreet marginal repairs).

Second edition, first issued in 1817, reprinted to celebrate the visit of General Lafayette to New Orleans, and with marked changes, showing the sixty-foot triumphal arch which was built in wood and canvas and erected at the Place d’Armes for the occasion. The arch was designed by city architect Joseph Pilié and painted to resemble marble by Jean Baptiste Fogliardi, the scene painter for the Théâtre d'Orléans. Another significant alteration is Tanesse’s addition of a tower to the cathedral. The original rectangular format was adapted with the clever device of a lunette breaking the top of the border to accommodate the height of the new spire.

This detailed engraving is an aerial projection from a height distant enough to give a good idea of the city’s crescent shape. John Reps, Cornell University professor emeritus and cartographic scholar, calls Tanesse’s work “one of the finest examples of 19th-century American urban cartography.” By August 1817, the map was available in New Orleans when Tanesse presented two copies to the city, one for the mayor’s office, the other for the council chamber.The city’s various states of progress in its expansion are superbly charted in the plan’s neat grid layout, which is accentuated by large open places given over to public plazas and buildings. Tanesse also includes the breastworks that proved to be very decisive in America’s defeat of the British during the famous Battle of New Orleans in January of 1815. This interesting detail is shown perpendicular to the Mississippi River at the lower right-hand corner of the city plan. Twelve symmetrically placed border insets show the city’s most important buildings, and all are drawn in elevation, with an occasional attempt at perspective. Although simply executed, they represent the French, Spanish, and American periods of New Orleans history.

In the title cartouche, an exotic American Indian family of unknown tribe poses near a lion skin. Here is where the second printed view of the city is depicted - the cathedral flanked by the Cabildo and the Presbytère. Today it stands with a second story that has been added by the U.S. government to facilitate its use as a courthouse.