Quarto (250 x 205 mm.), full contemporary mottled calf, spine with gilded raised bands, ornate gilt compartments, with green calf gilt title labels, marbled endpapers, a little worn. With 74 engraved maps consisting of one large folding world map, 63 double page or folding and 10 single page, 7 have light centrefold damage at the top, otherwise a good example.
Antoine Francois Prevost began production of the 19 volume ‘Histoire Generale des Voyages’ in 1746, the final volume appeared in 1770. The work covered all the major voyages to date and is profusely illustrated with nearly 600 maps and prints. In 1780 Jean Francois de la Harpe (1739-1803) published an abridgement entitled ‘Abrege de L’Histoire Generale des Voyages’. Accompanying it was the separately issued and untitled Atlas. Many of the maps are the work of Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) who was one of the most important and prolific French cartographers of the mid-eighteenth century. In the service of the French Hydrographical Office, he was appointed the first Ingenieur Hydrographe de la Marine, and also Official Hydrographer to the French King.
This is a little studied work which appears to have been available for a long period of time being issued as late as the early 1800s. In the process the contents vary. In comparing with the British Library example collated by Rodney Shirley, this example has the following differences. A ‘Carte des Isles Maldives’ is found but not present in the BL. As per the BL example maps 66 and 74 are not present, but that of the Empire of China is in duplicate. The maps are variously dated between 1738 and 1775. Indeed this may be an early issue as map number 74 in the BL example is dated to 1779 and appears to never have been bound in. Brunet (1860-80) III p. 771; Cox (1935-39) I p. 33; Hill (1974) p. 170; Phillips (1909-) 5991; Sabin (1868-1936) 38632; Shirley (2004) BL M.Bell 6a.