LA SCIENCE DE L'ARPENTEUR DANS TOUTE SON ÉTENDUË, Troisiéme édition corrigée et augmentée du Spectacle de la Campagne exprimé par des couleurs sur les plans et sur les cartes. A A Paris Chez Goeury, Librarie pour les Mathématiques et l’Architecture, Quai des Augustins, No. 47. An XI -
1803. 8vo, two parts in one volume; pp. [vi] engraved title-page, preface and table, [ii] ‘Avis du libraire’ letterpress leaf, 1-88 engraved text, 89-92 ‘Instruction sur les nouvelles mesures’ cancel leaves printed in letterpress,  letterpress table ; ‘Le Spectacle de la Campagne’, pp. [ii], 54 engraved text throughout; first part with three small engravings within text at p. 17, 61, 86, with full page frontispiece engraving on verso of the title-page and facing the dedication to the Prince of Condé, two further engravings (recto and verso) at p. 88, and with 8 folding engraved plates containing several figures; second work with engraved vignette on title-page and one folding engraved plate (uncoloured); with loosely inserted double-sided leaf of manuscript tables and neat marginal annotations in ink on title-page and at p. 79; first title-page, preface and first few leaves lightly dampstaining, with further dampstaining affecting the upper margins until p. 21, further occasional light dampstaining and some minor spotting and soiling throughout, final plate with brown stain at gutter though not adversely affecting image; uncut in later red morocco backed marbled boards to style, spine attractively tooled and lettered in gilt, with vellum corners; an attractive copy. An attractive copy of this scarce handbook on surveying, by the geometer, military topographer and tactician, Louis Charles Dupain de Montesson (c.1720 -1790).
Entirely engraved throughout in an attractive italic cursive hand, together with a number of charming illustrations, this practical and popular manual was first published in 1766, originally etched with 13 charming illustrations, with a new edition appearing in 1775 now including ‘Le Spectacle de la Campagne’, and the third edition first printed in 1777. The present copy appears to be the third issue of the third edition, the second issue having appeared in 1800. The variants in this 1803 issue are found within the letterpress inclusions: the ‘Avis du Libraire’ is a cancel with the publisher’s advertisements revised; similarly the letterpress ‘Instructions sur les nouvelles mesures’ found at pp.89-92 and dealing with the metric system recently introduced, have been revised and reset for this issue. Otherwise, the engraved text for both sections, and the engravings, remain unchanged.
The work includes a frontispiece, three full-page engravings, four small etchings (that at p. 61 and on the ‘Spectacle’ title-page are signed Chevalier and dated 1776), and nine folding engraved plates - one of which relates to ‘Le Spectacle de la Campagne’. A number of the images show surveyors at work, or rustic scenes. The two full-page engravings found at p. 88 appear to show the surveyor having put aside his instruments and relaxing, the first showing him dancing with the farmer’s young daughter, and the second leaning against a tree and reading a book.
Dupain de Montesson was active during the various military campaigns of Louis XV, the role of military topographers having become increasingly important during the later half of the 18th century. It was their job to reconnoitre and survey the land in advance of the army, checking out possible battlefields, noting enemy fortifications and natural obstacles, and planning suitable marching routes for the army. The teacher of the Duc of Berry, he was the author of other works on military architecture, perspective and mathematics, including a useful manual on shadows for artists and draughtsman, ‘Le science des ombres’ (1750), a number of which were translated.
Bibliography: OCLC locates copies for this issue at UCLA, Texas, Cambridge, Oxford and the BnF.