Trudaine's Atlas

Trudaine's Atlas

  • Frontispiece of the road plans of the generality of Alençon

    ANONYMOUS

  • Extract from the plan main road from Paris to Brittany.

    ANONYMOUS

  • Two plans of works of art of the generality of Moulins.

    ANONYMOUS

To close

Title: Frontispiece of the road plans of the generality of Alençon

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 58.5 cm - Width 43 cm

Technique and other indications: wash and ink on paper

Storage location: National Archives (Pierrefitte-sur-Seine) website

Contact copyright: © National Archives, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

Picture reference: F14 8451

Frontispiece of the road plans of the generality of Alençon

© National Archives, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

To close

Title: Extract from the plan main road from Paris to Brittany.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 58.5 cm - Width 86 cm

Technique and other indications: wash and still on paper

Storage location: National Archives (Pierrefitte-sur-Seine) website

Contact copyright: © National Archives, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

Picture reference: F14 8451

Extract from the plan main road from Paris to Brittany.

© National Archives, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

To close

Title: Two plans of works of art of the generality of Moulins.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 59.5 cm - Width 87 cm

Technique and other indications: wash and ink on paper

Storage location: National Archives (Pierrefitte-sur-Seine) website

Contact copyright: © National Archives, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

Picture reference: F14 8490

Two plans of works of art of the generality of Moulins.

© National Archives, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine

Publication date: May 2015

University of Evry-Val d'Essonne

Historical context

Restore the road network

The making of the so-called Trudaine atlas is part of the road reform undertaken by the French monarchy during the regency of Louis XV. It is therefore also an instrument of political power for the king.

In 1737 and 1738, Philibert Orry, Controller General of Finance and Director of Ponts et Chaussées de France, launched a vast inventory of the French road network. This innovative decision led to extensive operations carried out by Ponts et Chaussées staff, who lack any real training.

In 1743, the Intendant of Finances Daniel-Charles Trudaine obtained the administration of the service des Ponts et Chaussées. An experienced technician, Perronet designed a study program that became the benchmark, in particular for cartographic inventory procedures which continued until the end of the 1770s.

Image Analysis

The territory in maps

The three illustrations presented allow us to grasp the different facets of the so-called Trudaine atlas, with a frontispiece, a road map and a drawing of a work of art. These three documents are taken from two of the sixty-two volumes that make up Trudaine's atlas, with a total of two thousand and forty-nine road maps accompanied by seven hundred and fifty-one works of art, for twenty-two generalities .

The frontispiece to the three volumes of Generality of Alençon describes the close link between the cartographic enterprise and royal power. In the upper part, the coat of arms bears the royal arms, with the three crowned fleur-de-lis. On both sides, characters refer to the benefits of the sovereign's action. At the bottom of the title block, several sketches and instruments describe the different operations involved in making a map, such as triangulation, measuring angles or drawing.

The road map is produced on a sheet which is broken down into two parts of unequal size. The upper two-thirds contain the route of the road, with a narrow strip in which is inscribed the name of the parishes that can be convicted. The lower part contains handwritten information on the condition of the roadway or the progress of the work. The road map corresponds to a beam within which the orientation varies for a longitudinal route, focused on the path. The scale is ten lines to one hundred fathoms, a numerical ratio of 1/8500e, which allows a precise representation of the surroundings of the road, with possible variations of route. The cartographic figures are simple and represent the territory as close as possible to the reality on the ground. Different dimensions and measurements are shown on the drawing to ensure high accuracy of the information.

Structures are essential to ensure the viability of a road in all seasons. Using a letter system, the road map refers to plans of bridges whose scale depends on the size of the building. The sheet of the generality of Moulins is divided into two distinct parts for two works, with a practically unchanging presentation around three types of view: in plan, in section and in elevation. The meticulousness of the drawing, the dimensions and the annexed estimate also make it possible to obtain a precise vision of the building. This representation is essential for the public authorities, because the construction of bridges is carried out after tendering on the own funds of the Royal Treasury, therefore at the fairest price. In this sense, a plan limits the drifts.

Interpretation

State and territory

Supervised by Daniel-Charles Trudaine and then by his son Jean-Charles-Philibert Trudaine de Montigny, the Atlas of the Royal Roads brings a new conception of the territory to the administrative authorities. Such use of the cartographic tool is unprecedented in the history of the French monarchy. Thus, from 1738, Orry described the map as an essential element for any road project: “As far as roads and main roads are made or repaired, the plan of the new alignment will be shown on the map, as it will have. been approved on the specific plans provided. "

Thanks to maps, administrators no longer have to travel around the field to decide. Thus, the road map serves as an intermediate medium between the province and the place of decision. In addition, this medium can be modified on demand and sufficiently precise to capture all the constraints and the scope of the work. This approach is made possible by the use of the most recent cartographic techniques, in order to have an exact view of the places. From now on, Ponts et Chaussées engineers are also trained, with a standardized “language” and common techniques which make their action more efficient.

Thus, the card is a decision support tool that fits into a circuit between the province and Paris. It gives rise to questions, additions and supplements which make it possible to leave nothing to be neglected and to improve the control exercised by the state. Ultimately, the decision rests with the King's Council of State, which judges on documents and orders the start of work on the ground.

  • road
  • administration
  • cards
  • engineer

Bibliography

ARBELLOT Guy, "The great change in the roads of France in the middle of the 18th century", Annals: economies, societies, civilizations, flight. 28, no 3, 1973, p. 765-791.BLOND Stéphane, The Trudaine Atlas: Powers, Maps and Technical Knowledge in the Age of Enlightenment, Paris, Committee for Historical and Scientific Work, 2014 LEPETIT Bernard, Dirt roads and waterways: transport networks and spatial organization in France (1740-1840), Paris, School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences, coll. "Research in History and Social Sciences" (no 7), 1984. PICON Antoine, The invention of the modern engineer: the School of Bridges and Roads (1747-1851), Paris, Press of the National School of Bridges and Roads, 1992. VIGNON Eugène, Historical studies on the administration of public roads in France in the 17th and 18th centuries, Paris, Dunod, 1862-1880, 4 vols.

To cite this article

Stéphane BLOND, "The Atlas of Trudaine"


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