1835 (undated) 17 x 21 in (43.18 x 53.34 cm)
1 : 2304000
This is a beautiful map of France from Sidney Hall's extremely scarce 1835 New General Atlas. It depicts the Kingdom of France showing all its various divisions according to province, covering from the Flanders in the north to Roussillon in the south and from Brittany in the west to Alsace in the east. An inset map on the lower right corner details Corsica. Towns, rivers, mountains, important battle sites, and various other important topographical details are noted. Elevation throughout is rendered by hachure and political and territorial boundaries are outlined in color. Various battlegrounds are identified, including the Battle of Ushant (under admiral Keppel) in 1778, the Battle of Quiberon Bay (under admiral Hawke) in 1759, among others. A key along the left border lists the 32 provinces. Until 1790 France was divided into 40 provinces based on local loyalties and feudal histories. On March 4th of 1790 the National Constituent Assembly reorganized the Provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational political structure. The new department system was intended to deliberately break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Initially there were 83 departments but by 1800 that number increased to roughly 130. Many of the departments that were created in 1790 remain administrative districts to this day. But old habits being what they are, many maps, including Hall's, continued to depict the provinces of France. This map of France was issued during the July Monarchy, a liberal constitutional monarchy under King Louis-Philippe instigated by the July Revolution of 1830. The July Monarchy would last until the Revolution of 1848 which saw the establishment of the Second Republic.
Sidney Hall's New General Atlas was published from 1830 to 1857, the first edition being the most common, with all subsequent editions appearing only rarely. Most of the maps included in the first edition of this atlas were drawn between 1827 and 1828 and are most likely steel plate engravings, making it among the first cartographic work to employ this technique. Each of the maps in this large and impressive atlas feature elegant engraving and an elaborate keyboard style border. Though this is hardly the first map to employ this type of border, it is possibly the earliest to use it on such a large scale. Both the choice to use steel plate engraving and the addition of the attractive keyboard boarder are evolutions of anti-forgery efforts. Copper plates, which were commonly used for printing bank notes in the early 19th century, proved largely unsuitable due to their overall fragility and the ease with which they could be duplicated. In 1819 the Bank of England introduced a £20,000 prize for anyone who could devise a means to print unforgeable notes. The American inventors Jacob Perkins and Asa Spencer responded to the call. Perkins discovered a process for economically softening and engraving steel plates while Spencer invented an engraving lathe capable of producing complex patters repetitively - such as this keyboard border. Though Perkins and Spenser did not win the prize, their steel plate engraving technique was quickly adopted by map publishers in England, who immediately recognized its value. Among early steel plate cartographic productions, this atlas, published in 1830 by Longman Rees, Orme, Brown & Green stands out as perhaps the finest. This map was issued by Sidney Hall and published by Longman Rees, Orme, Brown & Green of Paternoster Row, London, in the 1835 edition of the Sidney Hall New General Atlas.
Sidney Hall (1788 - 1831) was an English engraver and map publisher active in London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His earliest imprints, dating to about 1814, suggest a partnership with Michael Thomson, another prominent English map engraver. Hall engraved for most of the prominent London map publishers of his day, including Aaron Arrowsmith, William Faden, William Harwood, and John Thomson, among others. Hall is credited as being one of the earliest adopters of steel plate engraving, a technique that allowed for finer detail and larger print runs due to the exceptional hardness of the medium. Upon his early death - he was only in his 40s - Hall's business was inherited by his wife, Selina Hall, who continued to publish under the imprint, "S. Hall", presumably for continuity. The business eventually passed to Sidney and Selina's nephew Edward Weller, who became extremely prominent in his own right.
Hall, S., A New General Atlas, with the Divisions and Boundaries, 1835.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear and verso repair near original centerfold. Minor offsetting. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 4224.009 (1830 edition). Philips (Atlases) 758. Ristow, W., American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, p. 303-09.