Pierre Jacotin

Artist's Biography

Basse Egypte. Carte Hydrographie de la Basse Egypte.

Copper plate engraving, c.1817
Image size 21 1/4 x 32 3/4" (54 x 83 cm) plus margins.
Good condition.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 93441
Price: $275.00
Publisher : Published by Charles-Louis-Fleury Panckoucke, Paris.
This map depicts part of northeastern Egypt along the Mediterranean coast, between desert and the Isthmus of Suez. The Isthmus of Suez formed a connection between the Mediterranean and Red Seas, making it a major point of interest in Napoleon’s 1798 campaign through Egypt. Napoleon ordered research and exploration along the isthmus in order to find the remains of an ancient waterway passage that had existed there at one time. Accordingly, the right-hand section of this map locates some of the vestiges found. Several years later, Napoleon wanted to construct a canal to connect the two seas, but concluded that it was impossible due to flawed measurements taken during the campaign. However, later explorers continued to plan for the Suez Canal, enabling its eventual construction during the mid-19th century.

Pierre Jacotin was named director of all the geographers and surveyors in the Nile Valley area during the French campaign. Although the plates for this map would have been produced from surveys made during the campaign, in 1808 Napoleon declared the information gathered in Jacotin’s surveys to be a state secret and forbid the plates from being officially published until 1817. This map is from the second edition of the “Description de l’Egypte”, a huge collaborative work published in sections between 1809 and 1829, which was intended as a compilation of the descriptive and historical information on Egypt that scholars had recorded during the campaign.

This detailed map locates cities and towns, forts and chateaus, and major overland military routes. Cairo and the pyramids at Giza and Saqqarah are also marked. Text in French.