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Map, Celestial, Northern Hemisphere, Antique Print, Desnos, Paris, 1770


Philippe de la Hire (1640-1719) (cartographer)
Harmanus van Loon (born c. 1649) (engraver)
Planisphere Celeste Septentrional Par Mons’r. De La Hire
[Northern Celestial Plan by Mr. De La Hire]
Louis-Charles Desnos, Paris: 1770
Hand-colored engraving
18 x 18 inches, image
21 x 24 inches, overall

Finely engraved chart of the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere, designed by French astronomer and mathematician Philippe de la Hire in the early 18th century. The chart renders the constellations according to traditional names as elegantly drawn animals, mythological figures, and scientific instruments. Stars are drawn in six degrees of magnitude, according to a key in the border on the left. Nebulae are also marked. The circular chart is surrounded by a graduated and numbered border with zodiac symbols. Superimposed on the illustrations are longitude and latitude lines, the Equinox and Solstice Colures, the Equator, and the Tropic of Cancer. The North Pole of the Ecliptic and the North Pole of the Earth are both marked. The map is surrounded by explanatory text in French. De la Hire’s chart was first published in 1710 along with a companion print of the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere by Nicholas de Fer (1646 -1720). The prints were reissued by de Fer’s son-in-law Guillaume Danet, and a later edition was issued under the imprint of the renowned French cartographer and publisher of maps and globes Louis-Charles Desnos — the version of the print offered here.

Product description continues below.


Philippe de la Hire was a French mathematician, physicist, astronomer and theorist of architecture. The son of artist Laurent de La Hire, he first studied painting in Rome around 1660. On his return to Paris, he began studying science and mathematics. His most important work deals with conic geometry, but he also published treatises on other topics including mechanics, stone cutting, and architecture. He became a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1678. He also taught at the Royal Academy of Architecture beginning in 1687. From 1682 to 1718 he performed daily meteorological measurements at the Observatory of Paris. De La Hire’s figures were influenced by Johann Bayer’s great star atlas (Uranometria, 1603). In addition, scholar Deborah Jean Warner identifies Sir Edmund Halley as one of the prime sources for the text surrounding the constellations in La Hire’s work.

Harmanus van Loon was a Flemish engraver who mostly worked in Paris. In 1695 he published one of his notable works, Les Forces de l’Europe, containing plans of cities and their fortifications.

Louis-Charles Desnos was a French globe maker. For more information see our Guide to Globe Makers.

Full publication information: A Paris chez Desnos Géographe et Ingenieur pour les Globes et Spheres rue St. Jacques au Globe 1770­­. van Loon Sculpcit.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and restored, including restoration to minor marginal chips and tears as backed on Japanese tissue, now overall very good and bright with light remaining toning and wear.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 5, p. 628 (van Loon).

“Northern Celestial Planisphere / by Monsr. from La Hire.” Bibliotheque Nationale de France. (6 December 2019).

“Philippe de La Hire.” Wikipedia. 18 July 2019. (6 December 2019).

Additional information


18th Century