SOLD: 1752 Buache - Carte Marine des Parties Septentrionales de la Grande Mer...

SOLD: 1752 Buache - Carte Marine des Parties Septentrionales de la Grande Mer...

SOLD: Very rare seminal 1752 Buache map


Carte Marine des Parties Septentrionales de la Grande Mer et de l’Océan où l’on a réuni diverses vues Physiques…

Map maker:

Philippe Buache

Place and Year:

Paris, 1752


51 x 21 cm (20 x 8.3 in)


Copperplate engraving


Original hand color

Condition Rating:


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An intriguing and very scarce map that was published in Philippe Buache’s landmark Considerations Geographiques sur les Nouvelles Decouvertes au Nord de la Grande Mer in 1754. It was the Considerations Geographiques, presented to the Académie Royale des Sciences in Paris between 1752-54, that helped ignite one of the greatest debates in cartography in the 18th century.

This map, which encompasses the Northern hemisphere with an inset of the North Pole, is rarely seen on the market. In fact, there are no auction records that exist for the sale of this map alone in over 25 years.

It is important to note, that what gave credence to the body of maps found in the Considerations Geographiques is the implied association with Joseph-Nicolas de l’Isle, Buache's brother in law, who had recently returned from the Royal Academy in St. Petersburg and who’s brother was none other than Guillaume de l’Isle, one of the most important and influential cartographers of the 18th century. As such, the controversy that ensued following the publication of the Considerations Geographiques revolves around the depiction of the Mer de l’Ouest in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Although Guillaume de l’Isle, did produce a manuscript map in 1696 that toyed with the concept of an inland sea, which was later spuriously copied by Jean-Baptiste Nolin in 1700, the controversial depiction, and the implications that it entailed, of a possible inland route to the Pacific, remained somewhat dormant for the next 50 years.

The current map is thus of interest not only for its intriguing and speculative depictions as it relates to the Northwest passage and of the possibility of an inland route to the Pacific, but it is the fact that it is associated with the body of maps in the Considerations Geographiques that makes it such a valuable addition to the study of the concept of the Mer de l’Ouest or of the Northwest passage. It is also a beautiful example how an idea of an inland sea sparked a generation of exploration in the Pacific Northwest which culminated in James Cook’s famous third Voyage to put the controversy to rest.


Very minor separation along the plate mark.