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AYROUARD, Jacques.

Recueil de plusieurs Plans des Ports et Rades et de quelques Cartes particulières de la Mer Méditerranée,

avec les figures des Terres remarquables pour les reconnoissances des Atterrages ...

Published: [Paris or Marseille?] 1732-46

Stock code: 106965

Price: £12,500

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First and only edition of this uncommon collection of charts, including the first printed chart of Monaco, a large folding map of Marseilles, and accurate charts of most of the ports, harbours and bays of the region. Ayrouard’s work forms a working “waggoner” for the coast, recording soundings, anchorages, and pilotage notes on rocks and reefs, and includes a series of coastal profiles as a further aid to navigation. This pilot would subsequently be drawn on by numerous hydrographers, most notably William Heather who cites Ayrouard in his New Mediterranean Pilot of 1802. Ayrouard dedicates the work to Jean Frédérick Phélypeaux, comte de Maurepas, secretary to the royal household and minister of the navy in the court of Louis XV, who was prominent in attempts to introduce a more scientific approach to naval affairs until he was exiled in 1749 for writing derogatory epigrams about the king’s mistress, Madame de Pompadour. The Conseil de la Marine, for whom this work appears to have been produced, had been founded in 1720 as a central depository for maps, plans, journals, and memoirs relating to navigation. Of the hydrographer Ayrouard, little is known beyond the brief details he gives on the title where he describes himself as “Royal pilot of the King’s Galleys,” and explains that these charts were prepared by him on voyages that he undertook on the coast, leading him to add further pilotage notes for the safe entry into certain of the harbours and roads (“avec les Remarques necessaires qu’il faut observer pour l’entrée á Certains Ports et autres Endroits”). Similarly, the engraver of these superbly-detailed charts, Louis Corne, was known to Tooley solely from this work. It is possible that this was a local production, perhaps produced in Marseille, hydrographer and engraver brought together under the aegis of the Conseil de la Marine to produce this pilot for the benefit of visiting French naval ships. Scarce: OCLC records just six copies outside France.

Quarto (335 256 mm). Contemporary mottled sheep, raised bands, red morocco label to the second compartments, anchor devices gilt to the other five, edges sprinkled blue. Engraved title, 4 folding engraved charts, and 75 double-page, of which 10 are coastal profiles. Somewhat rubbed, and with skilful restoration to the board edges, joints, and head and tail of the spine; tan-burn to the endpapers, folding map of Marseilles with clean tear, no loss, professionally repaired, light browning throughout, occasional marginal staining, but overall very good.

Bibliography: NMM 206; Shirley, British Library, M.AYR-1a.; LC 7862. The Map Collector, Issue 24, p.49, 'How Monaco evolved on maps and views', by David Lyon. Olivier, Pl.2495, No.27.

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