1468 From Guinea to Scotland
I discussed it as follows before it passed at Christie's in London on November 19, 2014 :
The Mediterranea is a coveted sea but the Ottoman domination pushes the Western trade outside it. The time has come to travel the coast of Africa to seek new paths to the Orient. Portugal is geographically well positioned for this new exploration. The age of the great discoveries is starting.
Navigation at sea is dangerous. Portolans are used to transmit the knowledge of the seafarers. These charts provide some major advantage over enemy ships and are considered as highly strategic.
The portolan is not a map in the modern geographic meaning. It is a document that sets islands and coasts and identifies the ports. The sailors are guided by the lines of the compass rose from focal points mostly in sixteen wind directions.
Christie's sells a manuscript on vellum of a portolan atlas of the coasts of Atlantic and North Sea, consisting of seven double-page 39 x 50 cm charts in a Venetian backless binding of the period.
The view of the coasts is complete from Sierra Leone and Guinea in the South to Jutland and Scotland in the North. It includes the discoveries made in the coast of Africa by Cadamosto, a Venetian serving the Portuguese, and by Pedro de Sintra in 1460.
One page is signed, located and dated : Gratiosus Benincasa Anchonitani, Venice, 1468. The Benincasa portolan anticipates by thirteen years the first Portuguese mission of African circumnavigation. Benincasa is one of the best cartographers of his time and his work in the Mediterranea are among the sources used to compile the Cornaro atlas in Venice around 1489.
In our NYC sale next week is a Portolan Atlas, with maps charting 3,500 miles of the Atlantic seaboard (based on secret Portuguese intelligence, but created by a Venetian cartographer, Grazioso Benincasa!), including the earliest individual map of Ireland https://t.co/O7ey14WqNg pic.twitter.com/4zjw7nbKn3— Christie's Books (@ChristiesBKS) June 8, 2018
1482 The Ulm Cosmographia
2014 SOLD for £ 510K including premium
Nicolaus Germanus understood the need to integrate the recent discoveries within the work of Ptolemy. In 1477 he produced the first modern globes, celestial and terrestrial, for the Vatican Library.
In 1482, Nicolaus Germanus publishes the Cosmographia in a Latin translation by Jacobus Angelus, maintaining the attribution to Ptolemaeus but also inserting his own work. His Ptolemaic maps include for the first time Scandinavia and Greenland.
This edition produced by Lienhart Holle in Ulm is one of the finest incunabula, using wood blocks for printing the maps that are beautifully hand painted. It was a commercial failure but fortunately his undamaged equipment could be reused for the reissue by Reger in 1486.
The world map edited by Holle with Earth surrounded by the twelve Winds, 40 x 56 cm on a 42 x 58 cm sheet, was sold for $ 320K including premium at Christie's on April 1, 2014 over a lower estimate of $ 180K.
A Holle copy complete of its 133 leaves and 32 maps is estimated £ 350K, for sale by Sotheby's in London on November 4, lot 60.
A very fresh copy from the 1486 edition was recently discussed in this column. It was sold for £ 360K including premium by Sotheby's on April 29, 2014 over a lower estimate of £ 120K.
1486 The Ptolemy of the Renaissance
2016 SOLD for $ 730K including premium
Germanus had completed his work in 1482. Without removing the authorship reference to Ptolemy, he edited his maps in Ulm while using the translation by Angelus. The woodcut is a recent technique that significantly improves the diffusion of the maps. For the first time, a map by Germanus is signed by its engraver, Johannes (Schnitzer) in Armsheim. Armsheim is 30 Km away from Mainz, the city where Gutenberg had operated.
The first editor, Lienhart Holle, has no more chance than Gutenberg: he is bankrupted by the magnitude of his work. A copy from his edition was sold for £ 510K including premium by Sotheby's on November 4, 2014.
His experience benefits another printer in Ulm, Johann Reger, who recovers the undamaged materials and plates of Holle and republishes the Cosmographia without significant change in 1486. The book meets now the success that it deserved: the printing by Reger is estimated at about 1000 copies.
The best examples are colored by hand. A 1486 Cosmographia was sold for £ 360K including premium by Sotheby's on April 29, 2014 despite the absence of three sheets of text. Another copy described as splendid in a binding of its time is estimated $ 600K for sale by Christie's in New York on April 5, lot 8.
1486 Ptolemy at the Age of Discoveries
2014 SOLD 360 K£ including premium
The first scholar who reestablished Ptolemy's maps was Planudes, around 1300. At the age of discoveries and explorations, new informations enabled to improve the maps whose themes were still relying upon the model of Ptolemy and Planudes.
The invention of the printing press facilitated the publication of maps, whose readability was improved by careful hand coloring. The princeps edition of both text and maps of Ptolemy's Geography was published in Rome in 1477.
In 1482 in Ulm, a printer named Lienhart Holle published a new edition using the geographic work of Nicolaus Germanus and the Latin translation of Jacobus Angelus. The skillful use of blocks of woodcuts is a technical feat. A single map of the World from the 1482 edition, 40 x 56 cm, was sold for $ 320K including premium at Christie's on April 1, 2014.
Too ambitious, this edition led Holle to bankruptcy. His equipment including the original blocks was recovered by another printer of the same city, Johann Reger, for a reissue printed in 1486.
Entitled Cosmographia, the Reger edition consists of 140 leaves of text plus 32 double-page maps. An almost complete copy in which only three leaves of text are missing is estimated £ 120K, for sale by Sotheby's in London on April 29, lot 114 in the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
This good copy deserved of course more than its estimate. It was sold for £ 360K including premium.
1490 GEOGRAPHY BEFORE COLUMBUS
The ancient Greeks understood the usefulness of recording the knowledge, to improve and teach. Their great scholars were primarily polygraphs, who published in a coherent form the work of their predecessors.
Geography aroused great interest, on the one hand in terms of theoretical geometry, on the other hand, already, to provide maps for travelers. It is not surprising that we find the names of Thales, Herodotus, Parmenides, Aristotle, Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, among the pioneers of geography.
All these studies converged 1850 years ago on the work of Ptolemy, one of the best mathematicians of antiquity, whose major title of honor is to have proposed the model of geocentric astronomy which was used until Copernicus (1543).
In 1478, Ptolemy was also the reference for the geography. The Roman edition of his geographical work, then entitled "Cosmographia", is illustrated with 27 maps finely engraved on copper, where location names are displayed in a palaeographic writing that it is readable (with some effort) by the reader of today. We see the world as it was known in the fifteenth century, as the maps from the time of Ptolemy did not survive.
In the sale by Reiss at Königstein from 21 to 23 April, there is a copy of the second Roman edition (1490), which utilized the copper plates of the previous edition. It is estimated 150 K €.
Two years later, in 1492, Columbus went on the ocean, towards the west. The following of this history is known, including its huge impact on cartography.
POST SALE COMMENT
The previous lot was a copy of the 1486 edition of the Cosmographia, published in Ulm. Estimated € 120 K, it was sold 60 K € before fees.
1493 THE NUREMBERG CHRONICLES
Among the incunables, the Nuremberg Chronicles were a prodigious library success, which has not been denied until now since we see several times a year at auction some copies of original editions.
We need to talk to the plural of the original edition: the same year 1493 had the publication of the first printing in Latin, in July with 1500 copies, then in December in German with over 1,000 copies. As seen in the context of the time, this had to be a fabulous project. Led by Hartmann Schedel, the book in large folio format (43 x 30 cm) was illustrated by 645 printing blocks (many of which are used several times for a total of 1800 images). The illustration was entrusted to the workshop of Michael Wolgemut who was the master of Dürer. To pay tribute to the printer of this masterpiece, I include his name: Anton Koberger. Sponsors names were Sebald Schreyer and Sebastian Kammermeister.
The text is ambitious. In the best tradition of chroniclers, it presents a chronology, year by year, of the world's history since its inception. It also talked about explorations, but not yet America: Christopher Columbus had just returned from his first trip. 1493 was indeed a key year for curiosity and humanism. The illustrations are maps, numerous and very interesting views of cities, allegories, miscellaneous including medical curiosities: a summary of all the knowledge of the world.
The usual price for a copy of one of these editions is around 50 K€. Those who are more expensive are the copies that have been colored at the time, and the price depends on the artistic quality and conservation of coloring. The copy of the Berès collection, in an early binding, was sold 260 K € hammer price on 28 October 2005 by Pierre Bergé et Associés (source: La Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot).
The book proposed by Heritage Auction Galleries on October 16 in Dallas, not colored, is a Latin copy presented in a modern binding of ancient look. It is estimated 75 K$.
1507-1509 the world in twelve gores
Sailors from both countries intensify their explorations. This competition is complicated when they appreciate that the division line crosses the New World. Amerigo Vespucci is a double agent who acquires as such the best overall knowledge. In his letter published in 1504 under the title Mundus Novus, he demonstrates that the New World extends so far south that it cannot be Asia. He had so identified the existence of a new continent.
The publication by Vespucci leads to the inadequacy of the maps regularly updated in the wake of Ptolemy to describe the world. Duke René II of Lorraine commissions in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges a team including the cosmographer Ringmann and the printer Waldseemüller to create new maps accompanied by a treatise on geography and to amend Ptolemy.
Waldseemüller publishes this cartography in 1507 in two representations : a wall map in four columns and three rows and a set of twelve adjacent gores to be trimmed by the user and glued on a wooden ball. The booklet is titled Cosmographiae Introductio.
The geographical globe had been invented by Behaim in 1492. Waldseemüller's gores are the first use of printing for such artefact. As for geography his advances are highly significant. Based on information kept confidential because of the rivalry between Castile and Portugal, he inserts for the first time an ocean between the New World and Asia and includes some very specific details such as the protuberance of Florida.
It was now necessary to define a name for this new continent. Columbus had died in the previous year. The new mapping could not have been done without the inputs provided by Vespucci. The team at Saint-Dié coins the new name : America.
Five gore sets contemporary to Waldseemüller's early editions from 1507 to 1509 are known. Among them a trimmed piece 18 x 34 cm overall was sold for £ 550K including premium by Christie's on June 8, 2005.
An uncut 31 x 43 cm sheet in laid paper with the same printing as in the above example is estimated £ 600K for sale by Christie's in London on December 13, lot 97. It had been kept as a scrap for stuffing a binding and is just surfacing from the archives of a craftsman who died in 1986.
The reasons for withdrawal were explained by The New York Times.
#ClassicWeek This December our #London Valuable Books & Manuscripts sale will offer a copy of the first map to name America by the most important cartographer of the early sixteenth century, Martin Waldseemüller https://t.co/CVl14pv5hD pic.twitter.com/TYFtCAqZjS— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) November 8, 2017
1572-1617 ALL THE CITIES OF THE OLD WORLD
2009 SOLD 230 K€ BEFORE FEES
I already discussed in this group the Nuremberg Chronicles. This extraordinary illustrated book published in 1493 claimed to include all the knowledge of the world. It was too ambitious and some diversification was necessary!
In 1570 another editorial project started: under the title Theatrum orbis terrarum, Ortelius published the first modern atlas, showing the geography of the globe into 53 maps.
In 1572, a canon of Cologne named Georg Braun began the publication of a book showing the plan and the appearance of many cities. The title, Civitates orbis terrarum, assesses that this project was designed to complement the work of Ortelius. Many plates have been engraved by Hogenberg, who had also worked for Ortelius.
Braun's work includes 6 volumes, the last one having been published in 1617. 546 images show the plans and bird's eye views of 480 cities, especially in Europe, of course, but also Palestine and Russia. Local peculiarities, including dress, are also illustrated.
Reiss is auctioning in Königstein on October 28 a copy of Braun's book. It is a composite copy assembled and bound in three volumes in the early eighteenth century, and colors have not aged well. For this reason, we consider the estimate of 260 K€ as ambitious, but the interest of this book is considerable.
Wikipedia illustrates his article with the bird's eye view of Zurich.
POST SALE COMMENT
This composite copy of an important milestone in the history of books was sold 230 K € excl. This result below the estimate is consistent with the commentary at the end of my article.
1581 EARTH VIEWED FROM HANNOVER
2010 SOLD 5 K$ BEFORE FEES
Old World Auctions is an auction house specializing in ancient geography. By consulting the catalog of their next sale, which closes on September 1 on the web, I have been fascinated by Lot 33, which I am glad to discuss below with the kind authorization of the auctioneer.
It is a map published in 1581 by wood engraving, hand colored, in very good condition with some minor repairs (Condition A), presented with a low estimate of $ 7K. The colors are still very vivid.
At first glance, this map is naive: Europe, Africa and Asia are shown as the three leaves of a clover. But do not stop here: it is a major cultural achievement of a Hannover theologian named Heinrich Bunting.
Like the Surrealists many centuries later, Bunting provides one of the keys: the clover is one of the arms of Hannover.Another key is obvious: the three continents meet in Jerusalem, whose picture occupies the center of the sheet, and thus is the mystical center of the world.
The following is more subtle: the representation of the world into three continents being both equal and equidistant is a tradition that dates well before the discovery of America. But America should not be ignored, and it appears timidly at the bottom left corner, subtitled "Die Neue Welt" (New World).
This fanciful geography is not unique in the work of Bunting, who also tried anthropomorphic and teratomorphic continents. His fantasy comes in opposition to the work of his contemporaries, including Mercator and Ortelius, whose goal was to provide maps of the best possible accuracy for limiting the errors of sailors and travelers.
Now I try a more personal comment. The cloverleaf with geometrically perfect contour can evoke these bits of paper on which the manufacturers of globes were drawing the geography between two meridians pole to pole before assembling them contiguously on the sphere. In the following century, the Blaeu workshop excelled in this technique.
Here is the site of the auction house. The map is shown on their site, with a zoom that allows a detailed analysis.
POST SALE COMMENT
The post-sale is now closed, and the results are published. The map has been sold for $ 5K before fees, which was probably the reserve price.
See also on Wikimedia :
1612 French Sailors prepared the Map of Canada
2008 SOLD 157 K£ including premium
The document that I present today is interesting and important, but it is not unique, since it is an engraving printed and published in Paris in 1612. Its title, inscribed in full length at the top of the sheet, is in former French: "Carte geographique de la Nouvelle Franse faictte par le sieur Champlain Saint Tongois cappitaine ordinaire pour le Roy en la marine"
On an area of 440 x 765mm, this map summarizes ten years of observations by Samuel de Champlain. This captain from Brouage in Saintonge was sent by the king of France to America to discover and colonize that "Nouvelle France" which was to become Canada, and he was the first to correctly describe the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. According to the habits of the time the map is decorated with some figures, including four Indians in a cartouche.
The sale of the lot by Sotheby's has just been confirmed for November 13 in London, lot 196, estimated 30 K£. The Canadian press had moved a few days ago of the possibility that it was the copy stolen from Harvard University in Boston in 2005, but it has been shown that this is not the case. This anecdote which had a happy end reminds us once again the very difficult work of traceability that the auction houses have to do each time a client brings them an item for sale.
Do not look at Brouage on a French map: invaded by sand, this harbour has ceased to be used in the eighteenth century, for the benefit of Rochefort.
POST SALE COMMENT
This result will refer in the history of map auction sales: nearly 157 K£ costs included.
1623-1648 globes in amsterdam
A pupil of Tycho Brahe, Blaeu settled in Amsterdam. He publishes in 1622 a pair of library globes, terrestrial and celestial.
The economic issue of the day is Hudson's Bay and the fur trade. Blaeu cooperates with the Dutch East India Company, founded in 1602. The son of Hondius, also based in Amsterdam, is a competitor to Blaeu. He gets linked with the Dutch West India Company founded in 1621 and publishes his own pair of globes in 1623.
The Hondius business is later continued by the brother-in-law of Hondius Jr., Johannes Janssonius. Formerly a collaborator of the 1623 edition, Janssonius up-issues the Hondius globes in 1648 with some additions without changing the size, 44 cm in diameter. The engraver Abraham Goos is the same as for the original edition.
On September 20 in New York, Bonhams sells a pair of Hondius-Janssonius globes, lot 18 estimated $ 400K, which belonged to the collections of the ducs de Luynes in the château de Dampierre. The terrestrial globe comes from the 1623 edition. Only two other copies of this edition are known, with small printing variations. The celestial globe comes from the 1648 edition.
The Luynes collections had another pair whose two elements came from the 1648 edition. Cautiously estimated € 10K likely to consider some significant wear, it was sold for € 164K including premium by Sotheby's on October 23, 2013.
1644 too late for the ming
These maps are detailed with regard to the rivers, the Great Wall and the travel routes, and include informations on the human presence.
For the Ming, the final catastrophe happens during the 17th year of the Chongzhen Emperor, 1644 CE. Beijing is captured by the Manchus. In the north, a rebel creates the Shun dynasty that will last one year. In the south, the loyalists hope to establish a new capital in Nanjing. Their resistance against the Qing will last 18 years.
The map by Cao Junyi is the last Ming map. Printed in xylography in two joined sheets 125 x 125 cm overall in the early summer of the final year of Chongzhen, its edition at Nanjing is certainly subsequent to the suicide of the emperor.
Three copies of Cao's map are known. One of them is in private hands. It passed at Christie's on December 1, 2015, lot 181. The tweet below was issued before that sale. It is estimated $ 350K for sale by Arader Galleries in New York on December 5, lot 131. Here is the link to the landing page of the 2020 sale.
1661 The Duke of the Seas
2019 SOLD for £ 730K including premium
The younger Robert began his career for England with an expedition to the West Indies. In 1605, having failed in the recognition of his legitimacy, he went to Florence where he could use with impunity the English titles which had been denied to him. In the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he was a very important naval expert, engineer, mathematician and cartographer.
From 1610 Robert Dudley drafted a navigation textbook that would include all his knowledge concerning navigation, longitude, naval architecture, to which he joined a proposal to standardize in five classes the dimensions of military boats. He prepared autograph maps of all the seas of the world in the graphic style of the ancient portulans, based on maps by his predecessors including Hudson, on Cavendish's observations, and on his own experience.
The preparation of the edition was a colossal work, entrusted to the engraver Lucini. The book appears in Italian in six parts apportioned into three volumes published in Florence between 1646 and 1648 under the title Dell'Arcano del Mare. The author is identified as Roberto Dudleo, Duca di Nortumbria e Conte di Warvich.
This book is the first marine atlas covering the entire planet and the first atlas to use the Mercator projection throughout. It displays other innovations such as dominant winds and currents and magnetic declination and promotes the circumnavigation.
This beautiful book has a flaw. The three volumes have unequal dimensions, and the maps prepared for the smaller volumes had to be folded several times. To fix this blunder, Lucini continues the work by standardizing the entire book to the size of the large atlas, 56 x 42 cm. Dell'Arcano del Mare is reissued in 1661, twelve years after Dudley's death. The content seems similar but the comparison of the maps between the two editions deserves to be studied considering the practice usual at that time to assemble composite atlases.
A complete copy of the second edition is estimated £ 500K for sale by Christie's in London on December 11, lot 13. Another copy had been reported as sold by Christie's on April 16, 2007 for $ 820K including premium over a lower estimate of $ 250K. It is no longer accessible in the online catalog, which probably means that it had not been paid.
1662 The Atlas Major by Blaeu
2015 SOLD for £ 580K including premium
This world atlas is the result of over three decades of preparation, started when Joannes's father Willem bought in 1629 the copper plates of the Hondius maps.
It is published as separate editions in Latin, French, Dutch, German and Spanish. The basic Latin edition is divided into 11 volumes. Blaeu sought the favor of Louis XIV and the French edition is increased by more detailed texts concerning France, Asia and America, extending to 12 the total number of its volumes.
A complete copy, finely hand colored, of the Grand Atlas ou Cosmogonie Blaviane, en laquelle est exactement descrite la terre, la mer et le ciel, still in its gilded vellum binding of that time, was sold for € 490K including premium by Pierre Bergé et Associés on June 18, 2014.
On November 17 in London, Sotheby's sells a copy, also complete and colored, of the Atlas Major, sive Cosmographia Blaviana, qua solum, salum, coelum accuratissime describuntur. It is estimated £ 240K, lot 46.
A composite specimen adding to the Atlas in French a volume of navigational maps and a volume of comparison through maps between the ancient and the modern world was previously discussed in this column. It was sold for € 200K before fees by Pierre Bergé et Associés on June 20, 2008.
1667 BLAEU'S ATLAS
2008 SOLD 200 K€ BEFORE FEES
You already know the Blaeu family. In one of my first articles in French, I presented a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes of the first third of the 17th century. From an original estimate of 200 K €, they nearly reached 800 K € fees included at Christie's Amsterdam on April 1.
Already well established on the market of engraved maps, the Blaeus continued for several decades to increase their geographical knowledge, leading to an impressive package for the time.
It was to be no less than twelve volumes, indeed, to form the collection of 676 maps assembled by Jean Blaeu in 1667, a copy of which goes on sale at Drouot (Paris) on June 20 under the hammer of the auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés (180 K €, lot 112). The book, moreover, is an in-folio, being so the biggest format commonly used to be found in bibliophily. The books measure exactly 55 x 35 cm. The bindings are vintage, ivory vellum. Some defects are listed in the catalogue.
These collections of maps, as two centuries later the travel albums of photographs, were made to the unit according to the purpose of the editor. It is amusing to note that in order to complete this set, Blaeu introduced some maps that are not him. When the mixture of authors is more important, this is called a "composite atlas." Such books often go on the market.
POST SALE COMMENT
The Atlas was sold 200 K€ before fees, being so just over the low estimate. It is a good result.
1687 THE CADASTRE OF PENNSYLVANIA
On the next year, Penn calls to America a former captain in Cromwell's army named Thomas Holme for being the first surveyor of Pennsylvania and create Philadelphia.
Penn is very keen to ensure that his colonization is clear and controlled and quickly asks Holme to raise a map sufficiently accurate to locate the holdings of the settlers.
Holme's map is executed at a scale of 1 inch per mile. There is not any equivalent in the American cartography of that time. It also includes in an inset the rectilinear plan of the new city of Philadelphia.
The Holme map is printed in 1687 in London. The first state is known as a single copy kept in the British Museum. The second state, with the Philadelphia inset at the top right, is also extremely rare. The only copy in private hands is estimated $ 200K to 300K, for sale by Keno in New York on January 31, lot 9.
This map is an assembly of six sheets for a total size of 85 x 140 cm, colored later.
1688-1698 THE GIANT GLOBES OF CORONELLI
In a previous discussion, I was discussing the pair of globes of the princes of Liechtenstein, sold 794 K € fees included by Christie's in Amsterdam on 1 April 2008. It is now my pleasure to tell you what happened afterwards.
Vincenzo Maria Coronelli, cartographer and cosmographer, created in 1678 a pair of globes of 1.75 meter in diameter for the Duke of Parma. This achievement of high quality earned him an order from Cardinal d'Estrées to the benefit of Louis XIV. Each of these commissioned globes, manufactured from 1681 to 1683, measures nearly 4 meters in diameter and weighs 2 tons and, of course, includes the most recent discoveries and many explanatory cartridges. They are kept in Paris, in the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand.
Coronelli was producing models for sale. On May 7 in London, Sotheby's auctions a pair of library globes, terrestrial and celestial, made in Venice between 1688 and 1698, and measuring 1.08 m. The stands are new. The set is estimated 150 K £.
1699 AT THE TIME OF THE TRAVELERS-MERCHANTS
2011 SOLD 170 K£ BEFORE FEES
On January 17 at Crewkerne (Somerset), Lawrences sell a manuscript map on vellum specially interesting for its subject and date.
It shows the northeast coast of America, between the Hudson's Straights and New England, thereby including Labradorand Newfoundland. It is dated 1699 and signed by a local cartographer who is known to have worked as ahydrographer for both the Hudson's Bay Company and the East India Company.
The search for the Northwest Passage made pioneers busy during more than a century, the key dates being the discovery of Hudson Bay (1610) and the exploration of Bering Strait (1728).
These pioneers were not kind tourists or fans of icy thrills. Their goal was commercial: find new trade routes to Asia.Behind them, companies like those mentioned above exploited the wealth of these new countries.
The meticulous details of the drawing of the coasts and the large size of this map (68 x 90 cm) suggest that it has been established for the fishing business. While the catalog does not emit another hypothesis, we should not dismiss too quickly the idea of a military document: Newfoundland was disputed between English and French, whose agreement of 1697 (Treaty of Rijswijk) was then quite recent and very fragile.
This lot is estimated £ 50K.
POST SALE COMMENT
This lot fully deserved to be discussed in this column, and the result is excellent: £ 170K excluding fees.
1774 Between Louisiane and Nova Scotia
2018 high bid $ 165k before fees
North America is shared by three colonial powers : England, France and Spain. The center of the continent, between the Great Lakes in the North and the Carolinas in the South, between Acadia in the East and the Sioux Territory in the West, is sparsely populated and the borders are not really defined.
Since 1682 the French controlled under the name of Louisiane a continuous stripe that extends from Quebec to the mouth of the Mississippi. Since 1718 the reference is the map of Delisle, very precise geographically but politically anticipating a French extension. This situation can not suit Lord Halifax, in charge of colonial affairs since 1748 with the title of President of the Board of Trade.
John Mitchell is a colonial botanist and physician, back from Virginia to London in 1746 for health reasons. He shares Halifax's views on the French threat in North America. Halifax commissioned him to draw a detailed map, opening to him all the relevant archives available in London.
In 1754 Mitchell's second manuscript map responds to the level of details desired by the government. The war with the French is already easier than expected. Halifax does not require an exclusively military use and a copyright is granted in 1755. This large wall map 136 x 195 cm is an encouragement to patriotism. Errors in Nova Scotia, a land strategically important for Lord Halifax, are corrected by Mitchell two years later.
Mitchell's map can be watercolored by hand to identify the areas of influence, objectively or not. It will serve as a geographical reference in 1783 for the Treaty of Paris to establish the boundaries between the British Empire and the United States of America.
On July 28 in New York, Arader Galleries sells a fully colored copy of the third edition, printed in London around 1774. Its condition is announced as excellent, assessing that this copy did not suffer a long time wall hanging. This map is estimated $ 180K, lot 59 here linked on the LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable bidding platforms.
POST SALE COMMENTS
Announced as SOLD on the bidding platforms.
Not included in the summary of the auction on Instagram.
A 1755 first edition first issue of the Mitchell map had been sold by the same auction house for $ 490K including premium in June 2017. See the review of Antique Maps shared by Auction Central News on August 3, 2018.
Another first edition first issue was sold by Arader Galleries for $ 530K including premium by Arader Galleries on October 10, lot 151 here linked on LiveAuctioneers bidding platform.
1780 WAR AGAINST AMERICAN REBELS
2011 BOTH UNSOLD
In 1776, Hessian troops landed in America to support the British war against the rebellious Americans. For the other side, it is of course the War of Independence, which lasted until 1783.
In 1780, the artillery lieutenant de Gironcourt, belonging to that regiment, set manuscript maps recording the majortroop movements of the war, mainly around New York and in Pennsylvania.
The specimen, 219 x 191 cm, for sale by Christie's in New York on November 15, consists of a main map and four insets. Operations are carefully captioned in French and dated. Place names are in English.
This very detailed document is a direct testimony of the history of that war. The estimate, $ 1M, is reasonable. Here is the link to the catalog. Another map made by the same officer in the same year, 64 x 51 cm, limited to the battle of Charleston, is estimated $ 100K in the same sale. Here is the link.
Americans recognize the importance of this type of document: on February 5, 2010, James D. Julia sold $ 1.15 millionincluding premium a map drawn by a French officer showing the different phases of the battle of Yorktown in 1781.
It is amusing to note that the two documents prepared by the opposing parties one year apart are using the same color code, red for British movements and yellow for Americans.
1781 Rochambeau to the Rescue of America
2010 SOLD 1.15 M$ including premium
A few days after the victory, a French officer sketched a detailed map of the battle. A simplified copy, 35 x 60 cm, of this historic document was given to Washington and was thereafter preserved in the archives of the President's secretary, Colonel Lear. A legend shows the different phases of the siege.
James D. Julia sells on February 5 in Fairfield, Maine, a large collection of books, documents and memorabilia from the Colonel. In its press release, the auction house frankly tells that it does not know to evaluate the price of the Yorktown map. The announced price range extends from 5 to 50 K $!
Americans love their history and the maps of their territory. I take for example a map of the Mississippi basin, 1858, 150 x 75 cm, sold 270 K $ hammer price in November 2009 by Neal Auction in New Orleans from an estimate of 18 K$.
POST SALE COMMENT
This lot was outstanding, obviously. It was sold $ 1.15 million including premium.
Here is the image, shared after the sale by Maine Antique Digest.
1814 ON THE TRACK OF LEWIS AND CLARK
2010 SOLD 12 K$
The purchase of Louisiana to France in 1803 was a major political act contributing to the glory of President Jefferson.This operation which doubled the territory of the United States also had the advantage of freeing the way to the West.
The first crossing of the new possessions up to the Pacific Ocean was made by two U.S. Army captains, Lewis and Clark, at the request of the government.
Leaving their winter camp at the confluence of Mississippi and Missouri in May 1804, the expedition reached the Pacific in November 1805 after crossing the Missouri River Basin, the Indian territories and the Rocky Mountains. The return journey was completed in September 1806.
In 1814, a book tells the adventure. Based on the writings of the group members, it includes six maps including a large folding map, 32 x 70 cm, very important for the Americans to discover the geography of the new territories. The image of this map is shared by Wikipedia.
A complete copy of the first American edition was sold $ 158K including premium by Bonhams on December 2.
Published the same year, the first English edition is also appreciated by bibliophiles. A copy was sold by Bonhams $ 14.6 K in the same sale. Tomorrow, December 5, another complete copy is estimated $ 20K, for sale by National Book Auctions in Ithaca NY.
POST SALE COMMENT
The realized price announced by the auction house is $ 12K. The copy was not perfect.
1815-1819 EARTH AND SKY BY CARY BROTHERS
The idea of drawing geography on a sphere is simple and ingenious because it prevents the deformations by the projections onto a flat surface. From the sixteenth century the inter-meridian zones are printed separately before being glued on the wooden ball. The representation of the celestial map on a sphere was already known at that time.
Pedagogical use is obvious. Miniature globes are popular to explain to children the model of their planet. Moreover, the learned world appreciates being able to view the latest discovered lands on larger globes. In the seventeenth century, the best globes are made by Blaeu and later by Coronelli.
John Cary was a cartographer of the British Isles before publishing a universal atlas from 1808. He operated in London with his younger brother under the name J & W Cary.
On April 1 in New York, Christie's sells a pair of floor globes by Cary brothers, estimated $ 200K, lot 172 in the catalog. Each one has been designed in two series of 18 contiguous hand-colored triangles from pole to equator.These globes 53 cm in diameter were the largest model from these publishers.
Same as Blaeu before him, Cary is attentive to the discoveries. His terrestrial globe completed in 1819 benefits from the voyages by Cook who had died 40 years earlier, but also by Vancouver, La Pérouse, Mungo Park, Lewis and Clark and even the very recent Arctic expedition by Ross. Cary indicates the routes of the explorers.
Produced in 1815, the celestial globe with the position of 3500 stars is the most detailed of its time and takes into account the scientific work by Caroline Herschel.
1953 Happiness for Everybody
2017 SOLD for $ 710K including premium
Walt traveled to Europe in the summer of 1951. He visited Madurodam in The Hague and Tivoli in Copenhagen. Madurodam is a 1:25 replica of Dutch cities and monuments. Tivoli was created in 1843 by order of King Christian VIII who understood that when people have fun they do not make politics.
The inventor of Mickey Mouse now knows that his new project is unprecedented and will be popular. He bought an orange grove in Anaheim CA and designed the overall plan along with the details of the themes which he grouped within so-called Lands. Visitors are invited to forget today for idealizing yesterday and tomorrow.
The star-shaped urbanism of the park is carefully designed so that the visitor never loses his way and easily finds the shops. The Sleeping Beauty castle is a fantastic and magical mark. Among the first lands of the project are World of Tomorrow and Frontier Country. Lilliputian Land will however not be developed.
The Disney brothers do not have the money. In September 1953 Walt assisted by the artist Herb Ryman draws an aerial map in oblique vision of his Disneyland project. The original drawing is traced for use on a sturdy 100 x 175 cm board. This assembly is carried by Roy Disney looking for investors. Success is achieved : an agreement is reached with ABC (American Broadcasting Company).
In 1954 the lines and texts of the drawing are reinforced for various promotional exhibitions. Just before the opening of Disneyland in the following year this mounted drawing is now useless and Walt presents it to one of his employees. This unique piece of great importance in the development of the first Disney park is estimated over $ 700K for sale on June 25 by Van Eaton Galleries at Sherman Oaks CA, lot 217 here linked in the bidding platform icollector.
Please read the essay prepared by the auction house including several period photos and a short video.