Louis BRETEZ and Michel-Etienne TURGOT
Plan de Paris.
Paris, 1739. First edition. Folio (650
by 450mm). Folding key sheet, 20 double-page engraved maps (plates 18 and 19 joined and folded), contemporary
mottled calf gilt, with gilt panelled decorative borders and large gilt arms of Paris to the centre of each
Louis Bretez and Michel-Etienne Turgot's monumental 1739 map of Paris during the reign of
Louis XV. Michel-Etienne Turgot, Louis XV's Prévot des Marchands, commissioned this plan in 1734 from Loius
Bretez, a sculptor, painter and perspective specialist, who used the conventional bird's-eye representation.
This was the last major example of this type of plan and is an important record of the architecture and
gardens of Paris at that time. Turgot's plan of Paris is possibly the most ambitious urban mapping ever
undertaken. Shows the whole of 18th century Paris and offers a wonderful perspective on the city prior to
Baron Georges Eugène Haussmann’s 19th-century redesign.
Turgot, who held the mayor-like office of Prévôt des Marchands de Paris, commissioned Louis Bretez
and Claude Lucas to produce this map in 1734. Oriented to the east on an axonometrical projection, this map
is best understood as an aerial view where in every building, window, tree, shadow and park is shown. It took
the team nearly five years of exhaustive sketching and surveying to assemble this masterpiece. In order to
produce the thousands of sketches and surveys required to complete this map, Bretez was issued a permit to
enter every building in Paris. The completed plan which consists of twenty individual sheets, can be
assembled into a massive and striking display roughly 8 feet by 10 feet.
Michel-Étienne Turgot (1690-1751)
Was a French businessman and civil administrator in the first half of the 18th century. From 1729 to 1740 he
held the mayor-like office of Prévôt des Marchands de Paris ("Master of the merchants of Paris")
under King Louis XV. Turgot's greatest claim to fame is his commissioning of Louis Bretez to assemble the
spectacular Turgot Plan of Paris, one of the greatest feats of urban cartography ever undertaken. Turgot's
more famous son, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, attained prominence as a statesman and economist under Louis the
Louis Bretez (fl. 1700 - 1740)
was French born sculptor and painter active in the early 18th century. Bretez was a member of the
Academie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture in Paris where he specialized in perspective with regard to
architecture. Bretez's greatest achievement was his production, with Claude Lucas, of the monumental Turgot
Plan of Paris. This spectacular map, one of history's greatest achievements of urban cartography, occupied
Bretez from 1734 to 1739. It depicts Paris from a bird's eye perspective with extraordinary detail to the
level of individual buildings and trees.
Alphonse Taride (fl. 1850 - 1930)
was a prolific Paris based publisher active in the late 19th and early 20th century. Publishing as" A.
Taride", the firm produced a large corpus of work including numerous maps, tourist guides, and pocket plans
of different parts of France. With the advent of the automobile and improved roadways in the early 20th
century, the name "Taride" became synonymous with high quality roadmaps. Taride has his offices at 18 - 20
Boulevard St. Denis, Paris.
References: Millard 39. Hodgkiss, A. G., Discovering Antique Maps, p.
77. Harvard University, HOLLIS 004146744.
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