[The Machine de Marly, France]


An engineering marvel of the 17th century.

1 in stock

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This collection of six copperplate-engraved leaves was originally published in Paris in 1716 as part of Nicholas de Fer’s ‘Suite de L’Atlas Curieux’. They relate to the organization, function, and design of the world-famous pumping station at Marly, on the River Seine in France.

Constructed in 1684, the hydraulic system was designed to use gigantic waterwheels to power pumps that would carry water up a hillside to the Louveciennes Aqueduct. From there it would be fed by gravity to Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles to feed the decorative fountains and other ornamental water features on the expansive grounds.

Nicholas de Fer, Geographer to the King, described the mechanism as the largest, most beautiful, and marvelous on Earth. The six sheets include a general plan that shows a top-down view of the overall structure, as well as the nearby gardens at Marly. ‘La Machine’ presents the station on the bank of the river, while a third page with a split image shows a cutaway profile and bird’s eye view. A fourth untitled leaf shows diagrams of various buildings on the property and two unpaginated text leaves provide additional information in French.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1716

Author: Nicholas de Fer

Sheet Width (in): 15.5

Sheet Height (in): 10.5

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Group of six sheets, each measuring approximately 15.5" x 10.5" and moderately toned throughout. A few small spots here and there, but overall very good.


1 in stock