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Pedley, Mary Sponberg, BEL ET UTILE: The Work of The Robert De Vaugondy Family of Mapmakers,  Tring: Map Collector Publications, 1992, ISBN-0-906430-12-7, 12 x 9¼ inches, 251pp, illustrated, cloth  (Map Collector Publications Ltd., 48 High Street, Tring, Herts. HP23 5BH, England, £85)

While focusing on the prolific output of Gilles and Robert De Vaugondy, this book casts a strong -- and welcome -- light on the publishing and allied trades in 18th century Paris, filling a large gap in English-language literature on the subject.  There are numerous illustrations (eight in color), a selected bibliography, a short-title index and separate, well-organized catalogs for maps, atlases and globes produced by the Vaugondys, as well as a general index.  Though the map catalog alone runs to 500 entries, Dr. Pedley is already compiling an appendix, and welcomes additions from readers.

Like its title, this book is both "beautiful and useful."  However, the high price for this limited edition (750 copies) may keep it from the audience it deserves.  A puzzling detail is the illustration of a handsomely colored title page for the Atlas Universel (also used for the dust jacket) which is from a 1776 edition published by Santini in Venice.  Yet there is no mention of this Italian edition in the text or indices.

Jon K. Rosenthal, 1993

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