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Antique Maps of the Caribbean Basin

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Nicolaus Visscher II. "Insula Matanino Vulgo Martanico in luceum edita per Nicolaum Visscher cum Privilegio Ordin: General: Belgii Fœderati." Amsterdam: N. Visscher, ca. 1700? 18 1/4 x 22 1/8. Engraving. Original outline color. Expertly repaired tears in center of image. Lightened stains from old repair in upper center. Else, clean and in good condition.

A lovely map of the island of Martinico by Dutch cartographer Nicolaus Visscher. The information is copious and quite accurate, as with most maps of their own lands by cartographers in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. The decorative features of the map are outstanding, and they are here extremely well presented with the rich impression of this wonderful engraving. The combination of decorative title and fine detail is reminiscent of work by the Blaeu family earlier in the century. A superb map from the Dutch cartographic tradition. $450

Moll: Jamaica
Herman Moll. "A New Map of the Island of Jamaica." From Atlas Geographus: or; A Compleat System of Geography, (Ancient and Modern) For America. London: John Nicholson, 1717. 10 x 7. Engraving. Hand outline color. Very good condition.

A fine early map of Jamaica showing good detail of the island. The map is by Herman Moll, who was a Dutch emigré to England after 1680. Moll soon established his own business and became England's most prominent map publisher. His prolific output covered a wide range from loose maps to atlases. His work was highly regarded and often copied due to the quality of detail found in his maps. The detail on this map is copious, and it includes indications of many principal plantations, including those producing sugar, cotton, indigo, and cacao. $350

Bowen: Barbados
Emanuel Bowen. "An Accurate Map of the Island of Barbadoes Drawn from an Actual Survey containing all the Towns Churches Fortifications Roads Paths Plantations &c." London, 1752. 13 7/8 x 16 1/4. Engraving. Hand coloring. Very good condition.

A lovely and early map of Barbadoe, oriented to the east. Emanuel Bowen and his son Thomas (born when his father was 53) were both map printers and sellers. As engraver to George II of Britain and Louis XV of France, Emanuel Bowen worked in London from 1714 onwards. Sadly, royal appointments and seeming prosperity were not enough to prevent Emanuel's death in poverty, a legacy which he bequeathed to Thomas, who continuing the business died in Clerkenwell workhouse in 1790. This map shows Barbados with quite surprising detail, as noted in the title. All this is presented with fine engraving and the decorative Rococo title cartouche and hand color make the map as attractive as it is informative. A table in the top right lists the size of the different parishes. OUT ON APPROVAL JC

Maps from 18th century magazines:

The monthly news magazines, which appeared in Britain beginning in 1731, contained poetry, prose, and articles on events, fashions, personalities, and other items of the day. The eighteenth century English gentleman wanted to be kept well informed through fine visual images, as well as articles, about the latest activities in the developing colonies around the world. One of the most historically important features of these magazines, therefore, was the inclusion of prints and maps to accompany their articles. The West Indies islands were of considerable economic and strategic importance to the British in the eighteenth century, so it is thus not surprising that maps of the West Indies as a whole and of many of the separate islands appeared quite often in these journals. These are excellent records of the situation in the West Indies at the time.

Mount and Page: Jamaica
Richard Mount and Thomas Page. "A New & Correct Chart of the Island of Jamaica with the Bays, Harbours, Rocks, Soundings &c." Within the baroque title cartouche is the statement "Sold by T. Mount & T. Page on Tower Hill." From The English Pilot. The Fourth Book – West India Navigation. London, 1767-1789. 18 x 26 3/4 neat lines. Engraving. With a 1/2" margin added to right side. Hair margins on sides and full margins on top and bottom. Best census is Sellers and VanEe, item 1922 based on the atlases in the Library of Congress.

The English Pilot was an important British sea-atlas that remained in publication from 1671 to 1803. There were regular complaints from seamen that it was out of date for changes were slow to appear even as other publishers, such as Mount & Page, took over from John Seller who had started it in 1671. Despite complaints, the charts continued to sell because they were inexpensive and captains of small packets or other trading vessels could not afford better. The charts were really not always as bad as the sailors claimed and the maps of the Americas, being newly drawn and not based on the older charts used for much of Europe, were generally better than most. The charts from the Pilot were intended as working charts so there was at least a genuine effort to make them accurate. This map of Jamaica is quite accurate for its day. The island is clearly and relatively well mapped with anchorages and some profiles of inland elevations given. This map was issued just at the end of the French & Indian war at a time the British were consolidating their possessions in North America and the West Indies. It would have thus played an important role in the history of the British merchants and navy in the Americas from this time forward through the American Revolution. $900

Thomas Kitchin. "Carta del Golfo del Messico dell' Isole e Paesi adjacenti." From Storia d. America. Italy, 1777-1780? 12 1/4 x 18 3/4. Engraving. Folds, as issued, and some creasing near folds. Otherwise, excellent condition. DR

A map from William Robertson's popular History of America, one of the first scholarly histories written of the western hemisphere. Once the first edition appeared in 1777, it was almost immediately translated into numerous other languages, including Italian. This map comes from one of the early Italian editions. There is good detail throughout, including many settlements and political divisions. A note on the Texas coast indicates the spot that LaSalle landed on his ill-fated voyage with the legend, "Qui il Sig. de la Sale si stabili nel 1685." $625

Santini: Antilles
Gilles Robert de Vaugondy. "Les Grandes et Petites Isles Antilles, et les Isles Lucayes avec une partie de la Mer du Nord par le Sr. Robert." From Atlas Universel dressé sur les meilleures cartes modernes. Venice: P. Santini, 1779. Engraving. Original hand outline color. Slight printer's wrinkles, one ca. 5" long in upper left quadrant, stretching from Bahamas east, the other ca. 3" long from lower neat line to Leeward Islands. Wear, time toning and creases in margins, with 1 1/2" tear in upper right corner, and 3/8" diameter hole in left margin, both away from image. Light stain near top at right of center fold, to left of cartouche. Overall, very good condition.

A handsome Italian map of the Caribbean islands, with the southern tip of Florida, eastern Honduras and the northern Venezuela. This map was made by Santini for his Atlas Universel using information from Gilles Robert de Vaugondy's earlier map of the region.

Interestingly, the title cartouche in the upper right includes both prow and stern of a ship of the period, but these are disconnected. Also featured in the cartouche are exotic shells, fishing nets and putti blowing conflicting winds. The scale cartouche shows Italian miles, marine and French leagues. $950

Franz Ludwig Güssefeld after Bryon Edwards. "Charte von West Indien nach der grossen Charte des B. Edwards..." Weimar: Geograph. Instituts, 1795. Engraving. 17 x 24. Original outline hand color. Lined for preservation. Very good condition.

An excellent late eighteenth century map of the West Indies. The map was based on a large map issued in 1793 by Bryon Edwards, to accompany his History, Civil & Commercial of the British Colonies in the West Indies. Bryan was born in England, but became a wealthy plantation owner in Jamaica. He was a leading member of the colonial assembly of Jamaica, and after a few failed attempts became a member of Parliament in London in 1796. Bryan was a strong supporter of trade with America and of the slave trade, and very knowledgeable and concerned with the political situation in the West Indies. His map was one of the best when issued and this is a reduced copy from the Geographic Institute of Weimar. All the islands of the Caribbean are neatly presented, with careful topography, as are the coastal lands from the mouth of the Oranoco River to the Yucatan Peninsula. Coastal features are identified, as are major settlements throughout, and the political control of the different islands and territories is indicated by contrasting outline colors, explained in a key in the lower left. A fine late 18th century map. $850

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