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Number: 2341
Continent: Africa
Region: East
Place Names: Port Louis, Mauritius, Isle L'Bourbon, Isle de France
Year of Origin: 1800 (estimated)
Title: Sketch of Fort Louis and Batterys along the Coast with the Reboubts and...
Sub-Title:
Language: English
Publish Origin:
Height: 40.8
Width: 54.8
Units: centimeters
Size Class.: Medium
Scale:
Color Type: No Color
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Cartographer: Manuscript
Anonymous or Unknown
Engraver: Manuscript
Publisher:
Other Contributors:
Northernmost Latitude: -20.3
Southernmost Latitude: -20.4
Westernmost Longitude: 57.5
Easternmost Longitude: 57.6
Measurement Notes: modern estimates
Notes: [earlier pencil error of Senegal, this map is certainly Port Louis, Mauritius and to be re-filed in East Africa drawer]. The source of this map is J. Potter, [London] but nothing known about this manuscript author, date or provenance; The date presumed by the British occupation c.1800--1815. Nevertheless, there is another manuscipt in French c1770--1800 known to B.Ruderman as a highly detailed manuscript map of Port Louis, the capital of Isle-de-France (present-day Mauritius), done in pen and watercolor, showing the town, surrounding countryside, and the harbor, with many points keyed and identified in the accompanying legend. The plots of land in the town are done in orange and brown, denoting developed and undeveloped parcels. The extensive battlements and defenses are each identified. The map comprises two-thirds of the sheet, while the remaining third contains the extensive key. A pencil notation at the bottom of the sheet indicates that the map was done by Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing (1729-1794) and predates a memoir written by him in 1774. Because the map is on wove paper, and therefore cannot predate the 1790s, it is almost certainly a later copy of that map. In his bibliography of Mauritius, Toussaint does indicate two maps done by M. d'Estaing in 1774, though neither matches this precisely. The Dutch were the first Europeans to become interested in the island, taking possession in 1598. After exploiting the island's dense forests for a century and introducing the cultivation of sugar cane and cotton, in 1710 the Dutch abandoned the colony. The French soon claimed it as "Ile de France," and the island remained under the control of the French East India Company until 1767. During the long war between France and England at the beginning of the 19th century, Mauritius proved to be an important strategic naval base, and as a result, the British took charge of the island in 1810, and the Treaty of Paris confirmed official British possession in 1814. It remained an important sugar producing colony, and in the 20th-century agricultural production was expanded to include tea, rice, and other produce. Jean Baptiste Charles Henri Hector, comte d'Estaing M. d'Estaing was a French general and admiral. He began his service as a soldier in the War of the Austrian Succession, briefly spending time as a prisoner of war of the British during the Seven Years' War. Naval exploits during the latter war prompted him to change branches of service, and he transferred to the French Navy. Following France's entry into the American War of Independence in 1778, he led a fleet to aid the American rebels. He participated in a failed Franco-American siege of Newport, Rhode Island in 1778 and the equally unsuccessful 1779 Siege of Savannah before returning to France in 1780. His difficulties working with American counterparts are cited among the reasons these operations failed. He spent time on ?e-de-France at the end of the 1750s, before transferring to another overseas station. Although he sympathized with revolutionaries during the French Revolution, he held a personal loyalty to the French royal family. Because of this he came under suspicion and was executed by guillotine in the Reign of Terror.//// Another pencil sketched island landscape view is known and held by Hordern House attributed to Baudin voyage artist Charles-Alexandre Lesueur. pencil sketch of Port Louis, with the vessel, 'G?graphe' at the precise anchorage Baudin noted in his journal: any original depiction of the ship is an important discovery, let alone such a comprehensive view of this important harbour as the great explorers would have known it. In the foreground, ranged dramatically towards the viewer, are the cannons of the fort on the low-lying Ile aux Tonneliers, the man sketching between two of the guns presumably meant to be the artist himself. The background is dominated by the dramatic ridges of the mountains, while the foreshore is rendered in accurate detail, ranging from the Trou Fanfaron on the left to the open country beyond the slave encampments on the right. Charles-Alexandre Lesueur (1778-1846) was appointed to the G?graphe because of his skills as a scientific artist: such was his ability that he and his great friend Fran?is P?on were appointed to publish the official voyage account, alongside Milbert (see 4311663) who was in charge of the engravings. Although not signed, the view is based on a preliminary pencil study by Lesueur held in the museum at Le Havre, which has an identical perspective and includes all of the main features of the foreground, including the fort itself, the details of the ramparts and the G?graphe ("suite de la vue prise ?l'?e aux tonnelliers [sic]", Baglione & Cr?i?e, p. 52). In fact, stylistically and technically the drawing appears to be a finished study for a never completed engraving: the style, shape and layout of the scene is closely in keeping with the two known plates which depict Timor and Port Jackson, both also after Lesueur, and both of which show the G?graphe from an almost identical angle. It is certainly possible that the present scene was being considered for publication as the third of the three main European settlements visited on the expedition, but was ultimately abandoned: the torturous publishing history of the Baudin voyage makes such a hypothesis genuinely quite likely, not least because of the provenance. Provenance: Baudin voyage artist Jacques-G?ard Milbert when he was in the USA (between 1815 and 1823): the view was in a small portfolio of works he gave to one of his students, which included at least one other Lesueur watercolour and several of Milbert's own important views. The entire portfolio remained with the family of the student, whose name is now recorded only as "Raschmann," until about 1990, when it was sold to an art dealer in California. A little browning and some light creasing to the paper (particularly noticeable on the margins), generally very good, the actual scene crisp and clear.
Last updated: Nov 27, 2019