A pair of Louis XV terrestrial and celestial library globes on green-painted and parcel-gilt stands
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE PAIR OF GLOBES BY THE LEADING PUBLISHER OF FRENCH GLOBES IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY
DIDIER, ROBERT DE VAUGONDY (1723 - 1786) A pair of Louis XV terrestrial and celestial library globes on green-painted and parcel-gilt stands Each globe encircled by a graduated brass meridian, the curved stands raised on scrolled cabriole legs joined by a stretcher, ending in scrolled toes Height: 451/2”; diameter (globe): 18”; width: 27” Globes, dated 1751 and 1772 respectively Parcel-gilt stands, mid-eighteenth century Provenance: J. Kugel, Paris; Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Hilbert $850,000.
These remarkable globes were part of a group initially offered by Didier de Vaugondy in 1751 as a subscription. He successfully reissued them in 1764 and in 1773, although it is thought that only approximately six globes now survive. Of these, only one other pair of terrestrial and celestial globes is known. Didier de Vaugondy became the leading publisher of French globes in the second half of the eighteenth century. His work became renowned not only for his affinity for and abilities in cartography, but also for his innovation in the mounting and presentation of globes. His skills earned him the honored position of “Géographe ordinaire du roi,” and the invitation of Denis Diderot to contribute an essay to the first edition of Diderot’s Encyclopédie. Vaugondy produced a seven page treatise on the manufacture of globes describing each stage of the process, from the choice of wood to the glue used to attach the strips onto the globe. Along with his brother Martin, Didier de Vaugondy developed his cartographic skills in the workshop of his father on the quai de l’Horloge near the Louvre. Here, they published maps and atlases as well as re-editions of their great-grandfather Sanson’s publications. By the time he was twenty, Didier de Vaugondy published his first pair of globes. His most famous accomplishment is perhaps the royal commission he received for a pair of globes for the use of the Navy. These were the largest globes produced since those by Vincenzo Coronelli between 1688 and 1693 and were presented to and accepted by the Royal Academy of Sciences towards the end of 1751. From 1784 until his death in 1786, Vaugondy worked along with Nicolas Gabriel le Clerc and Dom Claude Bergevin on the project for a globe of eight pieds (102 inches) diameter. The globe is preserved at Versailles, although Vaugondy did not live to see it completed