[MORTIER, Pieter (1661-1711)]. Le Neptune Francois, ou atlas nouveau des cartes marines. Levees et gravees par order expres du Roy, pour l'usage de ses armees de Mer. Paris: H. Jaillot, 1693 [but Amsterdam: Pieter Mortier, 1693].

$ 180,000.00

Two parts in one volume. Large folio (25 x 19 6/8 inches). Part I: letterpress title-page printed in red and black with fine engraved vignette with original hand-colour in full, ELABORATE AND EXCEPTIONALLY FINE engraved allegorical title-page by Jan van Vianen, after the original by P. La Pautre after J. Berrin with original hand-colour in full and HEIGHTENED IN GOLD, full-page engraved plate of comparative nautical scales in Dutch, French and English, 3 FINE engraved plates of ships with original hand-colour in full and HEIGHTENED IN GOLD, 29 double-page engraved charts, all with original hand-colour in full (many plates with archival tissue on verso to strengthen areas of oxidation; Part II: "Cartes Marines a l'usage des armees du Roy de la Grande Britagne, letterpress title-page printed in red and black with fine engraved vignette with original hand-colour in full, ELABORATE AND EXCEPTIONALLY FINE engraved allegorical title-page by Romein de Hooghe, 9 elaborately engraved and etched charts, mostly double-page of the French and English coasts and including a large folding chart of the Mediterranean all by Romein de Hooghe, incorporating finely-detailed insets showing ports and harbours, all with original hand-colour in full, and with the compass roses and towns HEIGTHENED IN GOLD. FINE contemporary Dutch gilt paneled mottled calf, each cover decorated with two panels of flower and acorn roll tools, fine gilt globe tools at each corner and a central gilt stamp of Atlas carrying the world within an arabesque border, the spine decorated in seven compartments with 8 raised bands, black morocco lettering-piece in one, the others decorated with gilt globe tools.  

Provenance: with the near contemporary ownership inscription of J. Jackson on the front free endpaper; the engraved portrait bookplate of James Gibbs (1682-1754), English architect "the architect most in vogue" (Horace Walpole), on the front paste-down; Christopher Henry Beaumont Pease, Lord Wardington (1924-2005), Library of Important Atlases and Geographies, his sale Sothebys' 10th October 2006, lot 317  

THE FIRST ISSUE of this pirated Amsterdam edition, published at the end of June 1693, with French, Dutch and English text. A MAGNIFICENT COPY, the plates beautifully coloured in a contemporary hand, highlighted in gilt, and in an exceptionally fine contemporary Dutch binding. Published by Pieter Mortier, a Frenchman who settled in Amsterdam, where he established himself as one of the leading map-publishers of his day. The charts were exactly re-engraved after the originals by H. van Loon and C. Berey.  During the first ten years of its life the work was supplemented, as here, by Mortier's "Atlas maritime…", with charts engraved by Romein de Hooghe in 1693, and then by the "Suite du Neptune François" of 1700. Apart from the present volume which was reissued     in 1700 and 1703, none of the atlases were republished and none of these editions after the first had the Paris imprint.  

Truusje Goedings, renowned expert in Dutch colourists of the 17th-century, writes of this copy: "This tall edition contains two atlases both published by Mortier: a so-called contre-facon atlas copied after Jaillot's Marine Atlas, and an original edition, the very decorative, 9-charts  Sea Atlas made and engraved by Romeyn de Hooghe. They were also sold separately but are most often found bound together, like this copy. To this double-volume Mortier added six years later, in 1700, another volume or Suite that contained charts after Portuguese originals. These editions are often found coloured in a very consistent style, which indicates a publisher's colouring. The fine, elaborate first title-engraving has been treated fully and detailed and has often at least a few tiny details heightened with gold. The maps have a full or half-full colouring of the land-regions in flat but expressive bright hues of transpararnt rosa, yellow, and green, with addition of some pale orange and greyish blue, all applied  evenly but often with lots of pigment, and heavily contrasting with the white of the paper of the mostly uncoloured waterplanes. Often the green has turned into a dark yellow-brown, due to the use of an apparently biting variant (or mixture) of coppergreen.  Decorations are fully coloured, and dominated by darker varieties of green, pink and bright to dark red. This very specific, expressive kind of colouring is comparable to the colouring often seen in Van Keulen's atlases, and the later, paler variant of Homan and Seutter. The Arader copy has an outspoken de-luxe colouring. The colouring of the maps is executed in the same expressive way and with the same colours as mentioned above though more elaborate and with more attention to details such as marks of places, mountains and woods. Gold has been applied lavishly and combined with silver at the first title-engraving, and in small decorative details of the plates and maps.  That Mortier indeed organized the colouring, and how he valuated this, can be found in an undated and very rare catalogue which must have been issued about ca. 1700. (see my article on De Hooghe, 2008/9). Here Mortier offered his 2-volume sea-atlases  in a white and in four coloured versions with raising  prices:  Atlas de Mer, ou le Neptune François, qui contient toute les Côtes du Monde, se vend aux prix suivans, sans être relié. Le NEPTUNE ou ATLAS de MER complet en 2. Vol. non Enluminé        .        44 -  0 Le même avec les Cartes seules Enluminées       50 -  0 Ledit ATLAS avec les navires, les Pavillons & le tout Enluminure  60 -  0 Ledit ATLAS, à double Enlumineure de diverses Couleurs pour mieux distinguer la Terre de l'Eau, & les divisions de Cartes, &c. avec les Navires, & les Pavillons aussi Enluminés  67 -  0 Ledit Atlas tres-belle Enluminure, avec de l'or  84 -  0  So, the price of an uncoloured copy (consisting of the copied Jaillot and De Hooghe's Atlas Marine) was fl. 44,-; a copy with 'the charts only' coloured was fl. 50,- ; a completely coloured copy including  the cartouches, ships etc. was fl. 60,-; the same more extensively coloured or 'a double enluminure' fl. 67; and one with a very fine colouring heightened with gold had the price of fl. 84,-.  Comparison of a number of preserved copies yields that the elaborate allegorical first title-print by Jan van Vianen with inscription 'Neptune Francois' was in general fully and carefully coloured and gilt in an equivalent way, apparently after some basic instructions. Regular coloured copies had their title-print coloured with sparing (or no) use of gold, mostly used for the trumpet bearing the title-legend, Neptune's staff, crowns and a few more tiny details. The real de-luxe copies had gold and sometimes silver lavishly all around the image, effectuating  almost the appearance of a Van Santen coloured plate. According to a contemporary auction catalogue (1709) Van Santen did colour this atlas (or part of it) at least once. Perhaps he supplied Mortier with a master model for a de-luxe colouring of the title-print - as he did later with some images of Mortiers large print-bible of about the same time (1700).  As for the charts, both in regular and de-luxe coloured copies the land-regions of the charts often have been coloured in full or in the full-to-fading variety, and always in shades of tranparent  yellow, light green, light rosa, and sometimes some light-orange or beige. Seas were left blank, or rarely completely washed with a transparent very pale grey-blue. Real differences between copies are found in the brightness of hues, especially with the sometimes very loud rosa, and green; and in the way cartouches and decorations of the De Hooghe atlas were treated,  more or less precisely in full colour, or left totally blank. The charts of the de-luxe coloured copies have all touches of gold, always in compasses and distance-rules (schaalstokken), and they never lack golden dots on places. The decorations and large cartouches of the charts  of the Atlas Marine by De Hooghe in these de-luxe copies were always heightened with gold, and sometimes silver.  According to Mortier's standards, the Arader copy with its very finely coloured and gilt engraved title, and the charts heightened with gold, no doubt is an example of a copy justifying the highest qualification of 'tres belle enluminure'" (Truusje Goedings).

Celebrated English architect James Gibbs was a contemporary of Harley, Wren and Hawkesmoor, and in 1711 he became a founder member of Sir Godfrey Kneller's cosmopolitan academy of painting in Great Queen Street. "He designed the dedication engraving to Prince George of Denmark in John Flamsteed's "Historia coelestis" (1712), purloining a plate from Andrea Pozzo's "Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum" (1702).  On 18 November 1713, with the help of Mar, Robert Harley, and Christopher Wren, Gibbs secured the coveted co-surveyorship, with Hawksmoor, to the commissioners for the building of fifty new churches. He had already submitted in 1713 two remarkable wooden models for avant-garde churches in the form of antique classical temples. He then proposed one based on the temple of Fortuna Virilis, Rome, and another of a more baroque flavour, both for St Mary-le-Strand (1714), together with a scheme for a 250 foot high column in the Strand dedicated to Queen Anne, based on Trajan's column, Rome; this was abandoned at the queen's death on 1 August 1714. Gibbs's final design for St Mary's, approved on 4 November 1714, for which he made a wooden model, was erected at a cost of £20,106… [In 1720] Gibbs's daring and innovative masterpiece, St Martin[-in-the-Fields] became the most influential church in the English-speaking world of the eighteenth century. Alexander Gordon, in the preface to "Itinerarium septentrionale" (1726), claimed that if 'such Buildings as the great Artist Mr. Gibbs has adorn'd London with, continues to be carried on, very few Cities in Europe … will contend with it for Magnificence' (Terry Friedman for DNB).

 From the distinguished library of Lord Wardington whose collection of Atlases was unique: "a panoply of the history of cartography and of great mapmakers" (Andrew Phillips "An Appreciation", Sotheby's sale catalogue). Koeman IV, M. Mor.7; Pastoureau, Neptune Francais Ba, contrafacon, 1693. Catalogued by Kate Hunter