Riding the wave


Official chart-making in the nineteenth century

Following the Restoration until after 1850, official charts, hydrographic works and any research useful to navigation received new impetus. The northern and southern coasts of France were subjected to modern suveys which reached as far as the Atlantic coasts of Spain, Northern Africa, Italy and beyond, as far as Senegal, Brazil, Martinique, thus producing coastal charts at medium scale and plans of ports.

At the same time significant expeditions of exploration were organized - after the three voyages made by Jules-Sébastien Dumont D'Urville to the southern continent, which had produced a series of charts of the region - that yelded important scientific contributions.

The revolution of 1848 put a stop to the hydrographic activity that was resumed in 1851, with the survey of the Strait of Messina and of the Moroccan and Spanish coasts in the Mediterranean, before being expanded - during the second half of the century - to the overseas territories, to the island of Newfoundland, to China and Japan.

The Italian Hydrographic Institute of the Navy keeps in its library about 300 charts produced at the Dépôt, bearing the names of relevant map-makers of those years: of these, Charles-François Beaupré Beautemps - represented here in a lithograph of about 30x22 cm, preserved at Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts in Australia (courtesy of J .-M.Urvoy) - was chief hydrographic engineer in the Dépôt, from 1826 to 1839, and one of the most representative French hydrographers of his time; Pierre Bégat was chief hydrographer at the Dépôt, from 1853 to 1865; J.M.Hacq, hydrographer-engineer and accomplished artist, produced 92 charts from 1827 to 1843; A.C.L.de Hell, naval officer, directed the Dépôt, from 1846 to 1848; F.A.E.Keller served there from 1823 to 1860; G.C. Le Bourguignon-Duperré participated in all the hydrographic campaigns of the Dépôt, from 1821 to 1850; Pierre Louis Aimé Mathieu, naval officer, directed the Dépôt, when promoted to Rear-Admiral from 1849 to 1864.

(Information drawn from the recent overview of cartography in France by Olivier Chapuis).
Charles François Beautemps-Beaupré, 1766-1854.
Carte reduite de la Nouvelle Hollande et des archipels : situes au nord et a l'est de cette ile sur la quelle on a marque les decouvertes et reconnaissances faittes en 1792 et 1793 , presso la National Library of Australia (courtesy J.-M. Urvoy)
Carte / de / la Côte de Karamanie / comprenant le Golfe d'Antalya / Dressée seems Mr. Keller, Ingénieur Hydrographe / d'après les travaux des Graves et Capit.nes Beaufort. / Publiée / Sous le Ministère de Son Excellence Mr. Theodore Ducos / Secrétaire d'Etat au Département de la Marine et des Colonies / Au Dépôt-général de la Marine / en 1855. Inc. Chassant, des. Hacq JM et V. Carré, mm. 910 x 620, longitude from the meridian of Paris, [ca 1:246.000]
There appear different views, of which the most attractive are:
under the title, to the right, the City of Alaya with its octagonal tower; top left, the city of Antalya, with fortified walls; top center, Cape Karobournou and Mount Alaya.
(Genoa, Italian Navy Hydrographic Institute).
View of the port of Civitavecchia, taken from the French map of 1851, designed by J.M. Hacq and V. Carré, and engraved by Jacobs, scale 1:10.000.
The chart is kept at the Library of the Italian Navy Hydrographic Institute.
The charts above were published in Coste del Mondo nella cartografia europea: 1500-1900 , Ivrea, Priuli & Verlucca, editors, 2000, 179 p., about 300 images.
A description of the Adriatic Sea and Dalmatia-Venetian coasts by Charles-François Beaupré Beautemps the page http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/Visualiseur?Destination=Gallica&O=NUMM-107075

Paola Presciuttini, 2002