Tomasz Panecki

The idea behind the so-called ‘special maps’ of palatinates was presented to King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1779. Perthées’s goal was to prepare the particular maps and use them as the primary source for the general map of the whole state and thus give a more accurate and detailed representation than the Zannoni map (1772, 1:690,000). Perthées’s method of work, unlike Austrian or Prussian cartographers of that period, did not encompass triangulation and field surveys but involved the using parish surveys as topographic descriptions, quasi-cartographic sketches elaborated on their basis, and – at the end – the map. Consequently, the maps are quite reliable in terms of attributes, but their geometric precision is low and errors could reach 20-25 kilometers. The first map drawn by Perthées covered the Mazowsze Palatinate (1783), as the Diocese of Płock, which made up the majority of the area, had already an existing survey. It’s worth noting that there was a second, ameliorated, version of this map drawn in 1798 based on a refined survey. Other maps drawn from 1784 to 1804 covered the entire Crown except for Gniezno and Sieradz Palatinates which, for unknown reasons, weren’t drawn. Out of 12 maps, 5 were printed in the Paris Tardieu printing house, 7 remained in manuscripts, 2 of which remain until today in the form of poor photocopies. A list of special maps with their dates of preparation and material form is given below:

IDPalatinate namedata of elaborationform
1Mazowsze (first version)1783manuscript (photocopy)
2Płock and Dobrzyń Land1784copper plate
3Brześć and Inowrocław1785manuscript
4Lublin1786copper plate
5Cracow and Duchy of Siewierz1787manuscript; copper plate
6Sandomierz1788-1791manuscript; copper plate
7Rawa1792copper plate
10Mazowsze (second version)1789-1791manuscript
11Kaliszafter 1798manuscript
12Poznań1804manuscript (photocopy)

The maps’ content is typical for a medium-scale topographic map of these times (cf. figure below). First of all, settlements are represented and distinguished according to three criteria: type (towns, villages, and other settlements), ecclesiastical function, and size. As for villages, there are parish villages, villages with a Latin or an Orthodox church, or a monastery. In terms of size, these are “long and large villages”, “villages”, “smaller villages” or “even smaller villages” (the last two are depicted only on the map of Podlasie). A separate symbol for so-called Dutch settlements (pl: “Olędry”) is included, “Romunki”, or “New settlements”. Industrial facilities include e.g. mills, inns, and windmills. Separate symbols represent settlements’ attributes like post offices or leases. The settlement network is supplemented by roads, rivers, lakes, forests, swamps, and a schematic relief shown by hachures. In effect, all 9 points from the parish surveys are covered by the map legend.

Fragment of a Lublin palatinate map: Zemborzyce vicinities (near Lublin).

Main references:

Alexandrowicz, S. (1990). „Mappa szczegulna woiewództwa podlaskiego” Karola de Perthees z 1795 r. Uwagi wstępne. Studia Podlaskie, 1, 91–97.

Buczek, K. (2003). Kartograf króla Stanisława Augusta. Życie i dzieła. In J. Pawłowski (Ed.), Karol Perthées (1739-1815). Kartograf pierwszej Rzeczpospolitej i entomolog (pp. 21–134).

Ertman, A. (2007). Rękopiśmienna mapa Województwa Podlaskiego Karola Pertheesa z r. 1795. Jej źródła, metoda opracowania i znaczenie dla badań historycznych. Analecta, 15(1-2), 129–137.

Ertman, A. (2012). Dwie rękopiśmienne mapy Karola Perthéesa w zbiorach Rosyjskiej Akademii Nauk w Petersburgu. Polski Przegląd Kartograficzny, 44(2), 141–147.

Rutkowski, H. (2016). Mapy Perthéesa. In M. Słoń & M. Zbieranowski (Eds.), Fundamenta Historiae (pp. 269–282).Szady, B. (2012). Mapa województwa lubelskiego Karola Perthéesa z 1786 roku jako źródło kartograficzne i historyczne. In B. Konopska, J. Ostrowski, J. Pasławski, & P. E. Weszpiński (Eds.), Biblioteka Polskiego Przeglądu Kartograficznego (pp. 26–35).