LE ROUGE, George Louis (1722 - 1778). Recueil des Cotes Maritimes de France Sur quatre Lieues de large environ En 50 Feuilles Tirez des meilleures Cartes Gravees et Manuscrittes. Publie en 1757...Revu en 1766, et Augmente des Divisions et Noms des Provinces, Par M.r Brion... A Paris: Chez le S.r Desnos..., 1766.
4to., (10 4/8 x 8 2/8 inches). Double-page engraved title-page (a bit stained). Fine folding engraved map "Carte Generale des Cotes de France,..." decorated with a magnificent allegorical asymmetrical rococco cartouche (margins extended at time of binding), and 51 double-page maps of the French coastline with original colour wash (persistent worming to lower corners, map 3 with paper flaw, not affecting the image). Contemporary French calf backed vinegar marbled paper boards, the spine in six compartments with five raised bands, red morocco lettering-piece in one, the others decorated with fine gilt tools (extremities a little scuffed).
Provenance: with the engraved armorial bookplate of Charles-Pierre Claret de Fleurier "Mr. le Chevalier de Fleurieu" (1738-1810) French explorer, hydrographer and politician; Ex-Libris Jean R. Perrette, his sale, Christie's New York, 5th April 2016, lot 77
Second edition of this important atlas of the French coastline, revised by Louis Brion de la Tour (1756-1823), cartographer Royal. Le Rouge was a French military engineer, hydrographer and cartographer, who eventually succeeded to the position of Ingénieur Géographe du Roi (Geographical Engineer) to King Louis XV. He published the French editions of many important American maps from the 1740's, the most famous of which, with Benjamin Franklin, a French edition of the Folger-Franklin hydrographic chart of the Gulf Stream. His most important atlas is the "Atlas Américain Septentrional", which includes a general map of North and South America, a rendition of John Mitchell's famous map of America, maps of Quebec, New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and the south-eastern states, Martinque and Guadeloupe.
At the time Brion de la Tour and Desnos published this detailed and elegant atlas of the French coastline, France was had been recently and soundly defeated by the British in the in the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763). At the Treaty of Paris (1763) France lost its North American empire. Britain's success allowed them to eclipse France as the leading colonial power. France sought revenge for this defeat, and in 1766, the year of this re-issue of the atlas, the French Kingdom annexed Lorraine and 1767 bought Corsica from Genoa.
From the distinguished library of Charles-Pierre Claret de Fleurier, who as a very young man took part in the Seven Years War. He was a Member of the Institute and the Bureau des Longitudes, who with Ferdinand Berthoud experimented with early marine chronometers, notably aboard the frigate Isis between 1768-1769 by traversing the Atlantic, in an attempt to beat Britain in the race to find a reliable way to calculate longitude. Fleurieu became inspector of the second submission of maps and plans of the Navy and deputy inspector of the Marine Academy in 1776, and in 1776 was appointed director of ports and arsenals. He prepared campaign plans for the war with American War of Independence for the Minister of Marine campaign, and took part in the re-creation of the port of Cherbourg. He wrote instructions for the for La Perouse's voyage to the Pacific, and became Minister of Marine in 1790. Phillips 5998; Tooley, p. 44.