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d'Anville, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon

Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (sometimes written Danville) (1697-1782), was an influential cartographer noted for his diligence and accuracy who reformed and improved the standards of map-making, although he himself apparently never set foot outside Paris. He argued against the practice of blind copying older maps, and tested the commonly accepted positions of places through rigorous examination of all available knowledge. He excluded inadequately supported information, and he noted questionable observations as such. His 1743 map of Italy first highlighted numerous errors in the accepted mapping of that country, later confirmed by a trigonometrical survey of the Papal States commissioned by Pope Benedict XIV. In contrast to the busy decorative maps of his forebears, his approach often resulted in sparse maps containing large empty spaces. He was drawing maps by the age of 12, and was a published cartographer at 15. At twenty-two, he was appointed one of the king's geographers. In 1775 he received the only place in the Académie des Sciences allotted to geography, and was appointed first geographer to the king. His maps for du Halde’s Description Géographique de la Chine (1735), later included in Atlas de la Chine ( 1737), were the first reliable European maps of China and were regarded as the standard Western source for its geography throughout the 19th century. His other notable works included Atlas Générale (c1740, numerous reissues); maps of North America (1746), South America (1748), Africa (1749), Asia (1751), the World (1761); and Géographie Ancienne et Abrégée ( 1769). We also stock smaller sectional maps from l'Atlas de la Lombardie covering north west Italy and the French and Italian Alps (1740's-1750's). The Anville crater on the Moon is named after him.