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Celestial and Terrestrial Globes

Date : 1725

Madame Le Coq de Villeray Manufacture, painted by Pierre II Chapelle

These two globes from the Château of Boisguilbert (Seine-Maritime) were created at the factory formerly belonging to Edmé Poterat and managed by Madame Le Coq de Villeray since 1722. They were painted by Pierre II Chapelle (1695-1730) in 1725.

The Celestial Globe resembles the one commissioned by Louis XIV from the cartographer, Vincenzo Coronelli, and reproduced in a collection of engravings, the Livre des Globes (Book of Globes), in 1684. The constellations, symbolised by zodiacal and mythological creatures, are configured as they would have been on the day of the king’s birth. On the base, the four elements take the form of their tutelary deities: Juno for Air, Amphitrite for Water, Ceres for Earth and Vulcan for Fire. Different conceptions of the Solar System over the ages have been painted on the outer edges of the volutes, the protruding curves, and the annual course of the Earth is portrayed on the pedestal separating the globe from its base with Mars, Venus and Mercury. The Moon, the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn decorate the plinth.

The decoration of the Terrestrial Globe was inspired by the engravings of Guillaume Delisle, produced around 1700. The surface of the globe is divided into 36 time zones of 10 degrees each, and the main maritime routes are mapped out, embellished with the ships and sea monsters that inhabit the ocean. The base features allegorical representations of the seasons: Flora for spring, Ceres for summer, Bacchus for autumn and Vulcan for winter. On the volutes three of the seven liberal arts (Grammar, Music and Geometry) are depicted, to which Pierre Chapelle has added Painting; each is represented by a trophy. The animals on the plinth symbolise the continents: a horse for Europe, a lion for Africa, an elephant for Asia and a crocodile for America.

There is evidence of the existence of two similar pairs of globes in the 18th century, one at the Château of Choisy and the other in the library of the Treasurer of the States of Languedoc, Joseph Bonnier de La Mosson. They have since disappeared.