Admiral de Fonte & the Northwest Passage


Carte générale des découvertes de l’Amiral de Fonte, representant le grande probabilité d’un Passage au Nord Ouest

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Copper engraving, 32 x 36 cm, engraved by R. Spadaccini, blank and white, slight toning to right of centrefold, blank verso. Engraved for Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie, one of the great works of the Enlightenment. Maps depicting the purported voyage of the Spaniard Bartholomew de Fonte, supposedly between Hudson Bay and the Pacific in the mid seventeenth-century, began to be circulated in some numbers about a century later, contributing to speculation about the Northwest passage. Vaugondy follows Thomas Jefferys’ General Map of the discoveries of Admiral de Fonte from Theodore Swaine Drage’s The Great Probability of a Northwest Passage, published by Jefferys in 1768. Jefferys/Vaugondy also incorporates Russian discoveries from Gerard Muller’s map, adopting elements such as the over-large Alaskan peninsula. Pedley, Bel et Utile: the Work of the Robert de Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers, 455.


Admiral de Fonte & the Northwest Passage



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black and white

Printed Area Measurements

32 x 36 cm