Home → Events → The French contribution to the 18th c. Ferraris maps At the end of the 18th century, Empress Maria-Theresa of the Habsburg Empire commissioned a large-scale map of
The French contribution to the 18th c. Ferraris maps At the end of the 18th century, Empress Maria-Theresa of the Habsburg Empire commissioned a large-scale map of
BelgiumOrganisation: Cultuurbilbiotheek, Sint-LodewijkscollegeConference by Soetkin Vervust.
At the end of the 18th century, Empress Maria-Theresa of the Habsburg Empire commissioned a large-scale map of the Austrian Netherlands, one of her dominions that coincided more or less with the current territory of Belgium. The artillery corps of the Austrian Netherlands, under the guidance of its director-general, count de Ferraris, carried out this mapping project between 1770 and 1778. Its end products were twofold: first, three copies of a very detailed manuscript map (1:11 520), entitled Carte de cabinet, which was reserved for use by the imperial cabinet; second, a smaller-scale engraved map without military details (1:86 400), known as the Carte marchande, which was intended for sale to a larger audience to cover part of the production costs.
Ferraris’s mapping project is a good example of the extensive surveys by specialist engineers that started to emerge in the 18th century, associated with the transition from siege warfare to a more extensive kind of military campaign. This branch of mapmaking was characterized by its use of more accurate surveying techniques with specialized instruments and its uniformity in style and content. Common cartographic practices were disseminated through newly established academies and internationally circulating textbooks, leading to the gradual development of an international, scientific cartographic language.
France played a particularly prominent role in this process, by steadily promoting geodetic research and becoming the first country where a truly scientific map of the entire territory at a scale of 1:86 400 was made between 1750 and 1786 under the direction of Cassini de Thury. As the cartographic front-runner, the French example influenced many other extensive mapping projects and the Ferraris maps are no exception. The lecture will focus on this exchange of cartographic knowledge across international borders by looking at the extent to which the formal aspects of the maps (their symbols, scale, sheet lines) and their surveying procedure were inspired by the French. The results of recent research into the maps' semiotics and geometric accuracy will also be discussed at length.
Venue: Cultuurbilbiotheek, Sint-Lodewijkscollege, Magdalenastraat 38, 8200 BruggeLanguage: DutchTime schedule: 20.00