LOUIS XV, King of France (1710-1774). Cours des principaux fleuves et rivières de l'Europe. Paris: Impr. Du Cabinet de S. M. dirigée par J. Collombat, 1718.
2 parts in one volume. 8vo., (6 6/8 x 5 inches). Fine engraved head- and tail-pieces (Bound without the frontispiece portrait of Louis XV). Contemporary tan calf, with a border of 3 gilt filets, surrounding the arms of Louis XV, the smooth spine with a large brown morocco lettering-piece and fine gilt decorations either side (upper hinge weak, lower hinge starting).
Provenance: with the engraved bookplate of Arras printer Paul-Marie Laroche (1839-1909) on the front free endpaper.
FIRST AND ONLY EDITION, PRINTED BY THE YOUNG LOUIS XV, for private presentation, the number printed is unknown, but RARE. The only title printed by this royal press.
"Printing was among the many teaching tools used in the eighteenth century by the royal tutors. [...] From the age of eight, [Louis XV] taught himself typography. In 1718 Cardinal Fleury, his tutor, was part of the Tuileries special printing department, called the king's cabinet, entrusted to Jacques Collombat. Since the activity of the workshop is only recorded up until 1730, it is likely that Louis XV was using it during its earliest years [ ...] "(Des livres rares depuis l'invention de l'imprimerie. Paris?: 1998, n° 117).
Concerning the major rivers of France and the major rivers of Europe (Germany, Spain, England, Poland, Muscovy and Italy), the route of each being traced from its source to its mouth, after information supplied by Guillaume Delisle (1675-1726). A student of the noted French cartographer, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, and the son of Claude De l'Isle, the geographer and historian to the king, Guillaume De l'Isle developed a strong basis for his cartographical skills. He produced his first terrestrial globe in 1699, and displayed a profound talent for capturing a high level of accuracy and geographical knowledge. In 1718, Louis XIV celebrated his much revered skill and accuracy by appointing him First Geographer to the French Monarchy, a title created specifically for him. In his many years in this position, De l'Isle became known for his correction of geographical errors common to his contemporaries, including dispelling the rumor of mythical lands in still-unexplored regions.
Louis XV of France (1710-1774), known as Louis the Beloved (Louis le bien aimé), of the House of Bourbon, he ruled as King of France and Navarre from 1715 until his death in 1774. During his reign, whose ineffectual rule contributed to the decline of royal authority that led to the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, Louis XV most importantly ceded New France in North America at the conclusion of the Seven Years' War in 1763. While his minsters fought over policy Louis isolated himself at court and occupied himself with a succession of mistresses, most famous of which was Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, whose political influence lasted until her death in 1764.