|Artist||van der Schley, Jakob after Bellin, Jacques Nicolas|
|Published||J.V. Schley direx. [Paris, c.1750]|
|Dimensions||245 x 250 mm|
A detailed street map of the city of Edo (modern Tokyo) in Japan, originally engraved by Bellin and Schley and reissued for Dutch editions of Prévost's monumental 'l'Histoire Géneral des Voyages. The map shows the city as it would have been during the Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Edo period. The map centres on the sprawling Edo Castle, here referrred to as the 'Palais de l'Empereur' and shown improbably with a French-style garden in parterre. The only other features of the city to be labelled are two of the early stages of the famous Tokaido road between Tokyo and Kyoto, these being the Nihonbashi Bridge and post town of Shinagawa. The rest of the city is mainly shown as a network of streets, though a number of pagodas, temples, and fortifications are also shown.
The Histoire Géneral des Voyages was a monumental eighteenth century general history divided according to geographic region. The original volumes were written by Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles, a French author, novelist, theologian, natural historian, and a priest of the Jesuit and Benedictine orders, but continued by numerous other authors after Prévost's death. The earliest books mostly deal with the Far East and South-East Asia, providing a general history of their regions, kingdoms, customs, culture, costumes, natural phenomena and religious beliefs. Much of Prévost's information is derived from the reports of Jesuit missionaries, Portuguese merchants, and famous explorers, from Marco Polo to Sir Francis Drake. Although written in French, the popularity of the Histoire among Dutch audiences meant that many of the illustrative plates and maps published to accompany the work were either re-engraved or subtitled in Dutch by the engraver Jakob van der Schley. Prévost himself had travelled widely throughout the Netherlands, launching his literary career in Amsterdam and the Hague after fleeing the Benedictines in France. Prevost's work on China, and indeed many of van der Schley's plates, owe a great debt to Johan Nieuhoff (1618-1672) , a Dutch traveller who explored much of China, India, and Brazil while in the employ of the Dutch East India Company. Nieuhoff wrote extensively, with a particular focus on China, for his memoirs, and his numerous drawings of Chinese places and people were much copied by later engravers for numerous works of Chinese interest. Nieuhoff's own book became a major source of inspiration for eighteenth century chinoiserie, and are amongst the first western illustrations to depict the Chinese people in a manner which was based upon personal observation rather than the tradition of oriental fantasy.
Jakob van der Schley (26th July 1715 - 12th February 1779), also known as Jan von Schley or Jacobus van Schley, was a Dutch engraver and draughtsman. An apprentice of the French engraver Bernard Picart, he is best known for his engravings of the majority of plates in the Dutch edition of 'l'Histoire Géneral des Voyages.' Despite producing mainly maps and views for this work, van der Schley was predominantly a portrait artist and literary illustrator.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) was a French hydrographer, geographer, and member of the French intellectual group the Philosophes. Bellin was born in Paris. He was hydrographer of France's hydrographic office, member of the Académie de Marine and of the Royal Society of London. Over a 50 year career, he produced a large number of maps of particular interest to the Ministère de la Marine. His maps of Canada and of French territories in North America (New France, Acadia, Louisiana) are particularly valuable. He died at Versailles.
Condition: Horizontal and vertical folds as issued. Trimmed to border at bottom right of sheet, as issued and re-margined small repaired tears to bottom right. Minor creasing and time toning to edges of sheet.