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Zoomable full resolution image available at davidrumsey.com.
Hand col. lithographed map. Relief shown by hachures. Covers Kuwait and parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Prime meridian: Paris.
A complete set of the six volume Atlas Universel in original bindings of half red leather teal cloth covered boards with title "Vandermaelen. Atlas Universel..." embossed in gold on the spine. This monumental work was the first atlas of the world with all maps on the same scale (and a large scale at that - about one inch to 26 miles) and the first lithographed world atlas. If all the maps were joined together they would form a globe of 7.75 meters in diameter (such a globe was made in Brussels). The maps were published originally in parts of ten maps each, beginning in 1825 and ending in 1827. Vandermaelen's maps are frequently misunderstood because each map is usually best comprehended in the context of its neighboring maps - the maps do not function well on their own, since they were all meant to be joined. Koeman states that "His atlases, although unique in concept and size did not possess that fine touch of cartographic style which make them attractive for a collector..." We strongly disagree - the graphic art of the maps must be appreciated in the context of lithography, a developing art at the time; as lithographs, they are very well done. For many of the areas depicted, these maps are the largest scale maps made at the time, and the most detailed (particularly in the American West). Maps are hand painted in outline color.
Phillips, 749; Koeman Vdm 1; National Maritime Museum, 179; Wellens-De Donder, L. Philippe Vandermaelen 1795-1869, 4-5.