Mid-18th century etui of drawing instruments by Jaques Canivet

Mid-18th century etui of drawing instruments by Jaques Canivet


Country of manufacture


Category: Drawing Instruments


A large traveling etui of drawing instruments by Jaques Canivet, circa 1755. Fine wood and leather covered case contains 11 instruments including superbly engraved brass sector, square and protractor with matching signatures “Canivet à la sphère à Paris;” two dividers – one with complete attachments including porte crayon, dotting wheel, and inking attachment; and other accessories including multi-part pen with two prickers, ebony straight rule with ogee molding and brass plumb. Case features typical dyed green and waxed upper section with lid lined with green paper.


Jacques Canivet (1714-1773) was the nephew and apprentice of instrument maker Claude Langlois. He received the title Master in the Corporation des fondeurs in 1743, first establishing a workshop at the Place de la Marché Neuf, Paris. Around 1753 he took over Jean-Baptiste Lordelle’s sign “a la sphere” on the Quai de L’horloge, signing his instruments “Canivet a la Sphere a Paris”. He was appointed Ingineur du Roi (Engineer of the King) and in 1758 succeeded Langlois as official Engineer of Mathematical Instruments to the Académie Royale des Sciences. During this time he supplied surveying instruments to the Paris Observatory as well as finely crafted sets of mathematical instruments for Louis the XV, such as the example preserved in the Louvre. Upon his death in 1774, Canivet was succeeded by Louis Pierre Florimond Lennel. Canivet is regarded as the premier French maker of mathematical and surveying instruments of the third quarter of the 18th century.


Example of Canivet’s instruments can be seen in numerous museums including the Louvre and the Adler Planetarium:







A similar set of drawing instruments can be found in the Smithsonian Museum: http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1122126

And in various past sale:




18.5 cm case height. Some hairline cracks on upper surface of the case lid. Instruments in fine condition with typical signs of age.

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DE Instrumentum

Instrumentum specializes in high quality 17th and 18th century scientific instruments for architecture, mathematics and navigation. We have collected antique instruments for over 20 years with a focus on early and rare European architectural drafting sets, dividers, and rules. If you are interested in something particular please contact us at instrumentuminfo@gmail.com. Image galleries of our inventory can be viewed on Pinterest and Facebook at the following links:



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