1823 Manuscript Map of Africa
Description: An unusual and beautiful semi-manuscript map of the Africa dating to 1823. The printed portions of this map follow the cartography of James Wyld and include the basic outlines of the countries, latitude and longitude lines, the Tropic of Capricorn, the equator, and the Meridian of London. The remainder of the map, including all textual labels and color work, had been completed in manuscript, that is to say, hand drawn. Wyld most likely produced this map intentionally without labels for use as a classroom workbook by which children could learn geography by filling in the blanks.
The manuscript geographical data and detail throughout is altogether outstanding. The work is completed in a fine hand adept at decorative text and the rendering of rivers and mountains. The geography follows the conventions of the period. Africa is transected by a large apocryphal mountain range identified as the Mountains of Kong in the west and the Mountains of the Moon in the east. Both ranges were speculated as possible sources for Africa's great river systems, the Niger and the Nile, respectively. Although the cartographer makes little attempt to map the interior in serious detail, reflecting the general lack of european knowledge of the region, some areas are represented more thoroughly than others. These include the Senegambia, egypt Nubia and Abyssinia, the Congo, South Africa, and the Lands of Monomotapa and Mozambique. Lake Malawi is illustrated in an embryonic but largely accurate form. Throughout various tribal nations are noted.
An altogether unique and wonderful one of a kind find.
Date: 1823 (undated)
Cartographer: James Wyld I (1790 - 1836) and his son James Wyld II (1812 - 1887) were the principles of English mapmaking dynasty active in London during much of the 19th century. The elder Wyld was a map publisher under William Faden and did considerable work on the Ordinance Survey. On Faden's retirement, the Wyld took over Faden's workshop acquiring many of his plates. Wyld's work can often be distinguished from his son's maps through his imprint, which he signed as "Successor to Faden". Following in his father's footsteps the younger Wyld joined the Royal Cartographical Society in 1830 at the tender age of 18. When his father died in 1836, James Wyld II was prepared to fully take over and expand his father's considerable cartographic enterprise. Like his father and Faden, Wyld II held the title of official Geographer to the Crown, in this case, Queen Victoria. Among his first major decisions was to move operations from William Faden's old office at Charing Cross East to a new larger space at 475 Strand. Wylde II also chose to remove Faden's name for all of his updated map plates. Wyld II continued to update and republish both his father's work and the work of William Faden well into the late 1880s. One of Wyld's most eccentric and notable achievements is his construction of a globe 20 meters in diameter in the heart of Leicester Square. In the 1840s Wyld also embarked upon a political career, being elected to parliament in 1847 and again in 1857. He died in 1887 following a prolific and distinguished career. Click here for a list of rare maps by James Wyld.
Size: Printed area measures 17.5 x 14.5 inches (44.45 x 36.83 centimeters)
Condition: Very Good. Partial manuscript. Original centerfold. Platemark visible. Wide margins.
Code: Africa-wyld-1823 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)