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Antique Maps of the Indian Sub-Continent

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Claudius Ptolemy. "Tabula Asiae VIII." Venice: Giordano Ziletti, [1561]-1574. 7 5/8 x 10 1/4 (plate mark). Engraving. Full margins. Two tiny worm holes near center fold at top; else, excellent condition.

A four hundred year old map from Giordano Ruscelli's La geografia di Claudio Tolomeo. This is a fine example of the Ptolemaic depiction of Northern India. The Geographia, is perhaps the most influential work on geography ever published. It introduced the notions of longitude and latitude, of scientific plotting, of a northerly orientation, and most importantly, it preserved the ancient understanding of the world. Settlements are shown, as well as rivers and interior mountains. Of particular note is the fact that this map, based on millenium and a half old information, was issued in the same atlas as a very current Ruscelli map. The publication of both the old-Ptolemaic and the new rendition of each part of the world was a common practice in the sixteenth century, and is a wonderful reflection of the culture and world view of that period. $60

Laurent Fries / Michael Servetus. "Taprobana." Woodcut. 11 x 14 (neatlines). Lyons or Vienna, [1522]-'35 or '41 respectively. 16 x 22 (full sheet). Water stains at extremities. Strong, even impression. Ref.: Henry N. Stevens. Ptolemy's Geography (London, 1908), pp. 47-9.

This woodblock map focusing on present-day Sri Lanka was cut as early as 1522 for the third Strassburg edition of Ptolemy's Geography edited by Laurent Fries. That issue of the atlas contained three new maps, and one was famous for having the name "America" on it for the first time in an atlas. The cartographic woodblock was used again in 1535 by Michael and Gaspar Trechsel in Lyon and contained text by Michael Villanovanus or Servetus. The Latin text on the back is surrounded by a decorative woodblock border which is attributed to Hans Holbein who was then working in Basle. The same woodblock borders were used in the 1541 edition of the same maps published in Vienna. This cartographic depiction of the region, appearing in three known editions of Ptolemy's Geography in the sixteenth century, would have been the most frequently seen map of this region in the western world at that time. $1,100

"Bengala." From Pieter Bertius' Tabularum Geographicarum Contractarum. Amsterdam: Cornelis Claesz, 1606. Engraving by J. Hondius and Pieter van den Keere. Ca. 3 1/2 x 5. Latin text on verso.

One example from a wonderful set of early seventeenth century maps issued in a popular geography written by Pieter Bertius. These maps were engraved by the brothers-in-law, Jodocus Hondius and Pieter van den Keere. The maps have a charm which comes from their fine engraving and small size, and they present some of the most up-to-date information of areas around the world available at the time. $150

DeWit East Indies
Frederick DeWit. "Tabula Indiae Orientalis." Amsterdam, 1662. 18 x 22 1/4. Engraving by Joannes Shuilier, 1662. Original hand color. Full margins. Very good condition. Koeman: Wit, 3 (17). Ref: Quirino, Philippine Cartography, p.84.

An updated map based on the Blaeu map of Southeast Asia. Most of the atlases by Frederick DeWit (1630-1706) were composite in nature, so they are impossible to date precisely, though this map was engraved in 1662. The map shows from southeastern Persia to northwestern Australia. Focus is on India, Southeast Asia, and the East Indies with the Phillipines. The many islands are clearly depicted, with ports shown as the most important information. The Celebes Islands were then being developed for the spice trade which would lead to hostilities among the European powers. $1,250

Emanuel Bowen. "India, as described by all Authors before the fifth century." From John Harris' Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels. London, 1748. 8 5/8 x 12 1/4. Engraving. Very good condition.

Emanuel Bowen was a map engraver, printer and publisher in London in the mid-eighteenth century. He achieved considerable success in this field, being appointed as engraver to both Louis XV of France and George II of Britain, and later as Geographer to the latter. He produced some of the most interesting maps of his time. Despite his royal appointments and apparent success, Bowen died in poverty in 1767. Through all the vicissitudes of his life, however, Emanuel Bowen's maps continued at a very high level of quality, as exemplified by this nicely detailed map of what is today Pakistan. Interior detail is good, with the focus on the mountains, rivers, and settlements. $175

"A Map of the Mouths of the Ganges in the Bay of Bengal shewing the English Settlements lately Destroy'd by the Nabob of the Province." From Gentlemen's Magazine. London: July, 1757. 7 1/2 x 4 5/8. Engraving by T. Jefferys. Very good condition.

Beginning in 1731, monthly news magazines made their appearance in Britain. These magazines contained poetry, prose, and articles on events, fashions, personalities, and other items of the day that might be of interest to the English gentleman. One of their most popular, and historically important, features was the inclusion of prints and maps to accompany their articles. This map shows the Mouth of the Ganges and the English settlements near it that has been recently destroyed. This map reflects events in Asia of interest in Britain, just as the simultaneous battles of the French and Indian War in North America would also have been. $65

Schley Ganges
Schley. "Nieuwe Kaart van het Koninkryk Bengali." Amsterdam, circa. 1760. Credited to Jacob van der Schley (1715-1779), probably the engraver as well as the designer. Engraving (hand colored). 11 x 13 1/4 (neat lines) plus margins. Slight stain on center fold, as issued. Very fine.

This is a fine, early map of the mouth of the great Ganges River. At the time of this map being printed, the European powers were rushing to establish colonies and trading posts in India as well as the rest of southern Asia. The source is probably from a French survey since the interior information is in that language, but publisher's information is in Dutch. The details are fascinating. $225

Rigobert Bonne. "Carte de la Partie Supérieure de L'Inde en Deçà du Gange, ..." with inset top right: "Bouches du Gange." From Guillaume Raynal's Atlas de toutes les parties connues du globe terrestre. Geneva: J.L. Pellet, 1780-81. 8 3/8 x 12 5/8 (neatlines) plus full margins. Engraving. Very good condition.

Rigobert Bonne was the Royal Hydrographer of France, so his primary interest was in marine charts, though this extended to maps of all parts of the world. With his Royal connections and access to the cartographic documents in Paris, Bonne was able to compile maps containing some of the most up-to-date information of his time. Included are indications of topography, towns and rivers. A good example of the best cartography of the end of eighteenth century. $90

William Darton, Jr. "Hindoostan, or India." From Atlas to Walker's Geography. London: Vernor and Hood, etc., 1802. 7 1/4 x 8 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Stain in margin. Otherwise, very good condition.

William Darton, Sr. started his mapmaking business in 1787 in London, and thus began a cartographic publishing house that would last, in various manifestations, until the 1860s. William Darton, Jr. joined his father late in the eighteenth century and these are maps engraved by him for Walker's Geography. While not large, the maps from this atlas contain an impressive amount of detail carefully presented. The information used was the best available in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, meaning the best in the world, so this map is not only attractive, but provides an excellent cartographic picture of the world at the time. $150

"The Southern Provinces of Hindoostan." From Robert Wilkinson's General Atlas of the World, Quarters, Empires, Kingdoms, States etc. with Appropriate Tables. London: Robert Wilkinson, 1808. 11 1/2 x 10 1/2. Engraving by I. Froggett. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A typically detailed and neat map of Southern India and Ceylon from a British atlas of the early nineteenth century. There is an impressive amount of detail, especially of river systems and orography. A very nice picture of the sub-continent at the beginning of the nineteenth century. With the hand color and precise engraving, the map is decorative as well as historically interesting. $60

John Thomson. "British India, Southern Part." From A New General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Thomson, 1817. 19 7/8 x 23 3/4. Engraving. Full original hand color. Full margins. Very good condition.

A fascinating map depicting a period of large-scale revolt against Imperial Britain and the British East India Company at a time when any further involvement in India by France was ensured by Napoleon's final defeat. Beginning with the Ghurka War during the governorship of Lord Moira (1814-1823), the Ghurkas moved south from their native Nepal into British possessions. In 1814 the battle was joined and continued until 1816 when the treaty of Segauli was signed. This map shows main roads and battle routes as well as political division of various native populations and the British. $225

Cary India
John Cary. "A New Map of Hindoostan, from the Latest Authority." From Cary's New Universal Atlas. London: J. Cary, 1825. 18 1/4 x 20. Engraving. Minor wear in outside margins and along center seam. Otherwise, very good condition.

One of a series of detailed maps of all parts of the world by John Cary (ca. 1754-1835), the founder of the famous English cartographic firm. From about mid-way through the eighteenth century, British cartographers were the best in the world, and the maps produced by Cary are good examples of the quality they achieved. Rivers, towns, roads, and other information is clearly presented with very crisp engravings, and the maps have an almost three-dimensional topographical appearance. The subtle hand coloring adds a decorative touch to these fine early nineteenth century historic documents. This map of Hindoostan includes an insert of the Island of Ceylon. $450

Maps by the SDUK. London: Chapman & Hall, 1831-35. All approx. 15 1/2 x 12 1/4. Engraving by J. & C. Walker. Original outline hand coloring. Very good condition.

A group of interesting maps of regions of India by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). This wonderful English enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. Here they have produced fine maps of India. These maps are fine historical documents and coupled with each other or individually, they are excellent examples of the quality of work done by the SDUK.

Henry S. Tanner. "Hindoostan." with inset "Delta of the Ganges." From Tanner's Universal Atlas. Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1844. 12 x 14. Engraving. Original hand coloring. Very good condition.

This map was made by the great American cartographer, Henry Schenck Tanner. In 1816, Henry, his brother Benjamin, John Vallance and Francis Kearny formed an engraving firm in Philadelphia. Having had experience at map engraving through his work with John Melish, Tanner conceived of the idea of compiling and publishing an American Atlas, which was begun in 1819 by Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Co. Soon Tanner took over the project on his own, and thus began his career as cartographic publisher. The American Atlas was a huge success, and this inspired Tanner to produce his Universal Atlas, of more manageable size. The maps were issued by Tanner until 1841, then in 1844 by Carey & Hart. Later the maps were issued by S. Augustus Mitchell, and then Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. into the second half of the century. $150

"India. South Sheet." From Black's General Atlas of the World. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1879. Although the map states that it is "engraved and colored" by J[ohn] Bartholomew, it is lithographed in colors.

One of a series of precisely detailed maps of the world from one of the leading British mapmaking firms of the nineteenth century. Adam and Charles Black issued atlases from the 1840s through the 80s, keeping their maps as current as possible. These handsome maps are splendid examples of their output. $75

Church Missionary Society. "Missionary Tour in India." London: George Philip & Son, ca. 1900. Separately issued folding map mounted on linen. 25 3/4 x (assembled; 39 x 29, each sheet). Chromolithograph. With marble endpapers. Light wear at folds; otherwise, excellent condition.

Published by the Church Missionary Society, an Anglican organization founded in the midst of the Wesleyan revival of the late eighteenth century, this map highlights the missions focus that featured prominently in many Protestant churches of the nineteenth century. Produced about a century after the organization's founding, it outlines a journey presumably taken by one of its own missionaries. Beginning its outreach first in West Africa, the Church Missionary Society quickly moved into Southeast Asia, arriving in India around 1815. In addition to establishing traditional churches and bishoprics, missionaries focused on medical missions, founding hospitals all over the country. The organization continues to operate worldwide from its headquarters in London. OUT ON APPROVAL

George Gill, F.R.G.S. "Gill's 'Cartographic' India and Surrounding States with Railways and Border Trade Routes." London: Geo. Gill & Sons, ca. 1905. Separately issued folding map: dissected into 64 sections and mounted on linen in four parts. 78 1/2 x 58 (assembled; 39 x 29, each sheet). Chromolithograph. With marble endpapers. Some wear along folds, especially in lower quadrants; with tack holes in corners. Some light smudging; in southeast quadrant, several small smudges of blue ink (apparently printer's errors). Overall, very good condition. Click on underlined titles to view photos of: northwestern quadrant, southwestern quadrant, southeastern quadrant,and northeastern quadrant.

Brilliantly colored and sharply drawn, this map illustrates India and the surrounding region as it existed during the first decade of the twentieth century. Still occupied by Great Britain, the regions that would later become India, Pakistan, and Burma are shaded to indicate their colonial status. To the northeast, the pre-republic Chinese Empire encompasses Tibet and Mongolia, abutting the pre-Soviet Russian Empire. Between British India and Russian Bokhara (modern Uzbekistan), Afghanistan sits as a buffer for imperialist powers. Stretching along the east from the Kizyl-Kum desert to the Maldive Islands and bounded on the west by the Mekong River, this map encompasses a region on the cusp of intense change: by 1911, the Qing dynasty gave way to the Republic of China; under the wing of the newly-formed Soviet Union, Uzbekistan was formed in 1924; before World War II, Thailand would emerge from Siam; and in 1949, Great Britain ceded independence to the nations of Pakistan and India. The political bent of the map is indicated in the references section, where Gill states, "The prominence of the names indicates the comparative importance of places, either as regard population commerce, history, or strategic position." Also of considerable interest is the transportation network, including railways, canals, and "frontier trade routes." $450


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