Corea and Japan.
1815 (dated) 20 x 25 in (50.8 x 63.5 cm)
This fascinating hand colored 1814 map depicts Korea and Japan. Both Korea and Japan are divided according to their constituent provinces with Hokkaido, identified as Jesso (Yesso), partially off the map. The island of Hachijo (incorrectly identified here as Fatsisio), just south of Edo Bay, is identified as a 'Place of Exile for the Grandees of Japan.' Though the Izu Islands were in fact used as convict settlements in the 18th century, Hachijo Island was not particular in that respect, nor was the social status of its criminals. A wall of wooden spikes dividing Chinese Tartary (today's Manchuria) from Korea is also noted. The sea between Japan and Korea, whose name, either the 'Sea of Korea' or the 'Sea of Japan,' is currently a matter of historical and political dispute between the two countries, is here identified in favor of Japan.
The whole is beautifully engraved in the minimalist English style pioneered in the early part of the 19th century. Thomson maps are known for their stunning color, awe inspiring size, and magnificent detail. Thomson's work, including this map, represents some of the finest cartographic art of the 19th century. Relief is shown by hachure with towns, cities, and major topographical features identified. Engraved in 1814 by J. and G. Menzies and issued as Plate no. 34 for Edinburgh cartographer John Thomson's 1817 issue of the New General Atlas.
Thomson's New General Atlas was first published in 1817 and continued to be published until about 1821. This is the first of Thomson's major cartographic works and the atlas for which is most celebrated. The New General Atlas follows in the Edinburgh School, which eschews excessive decoration in favor of a more minimalized fact -based cartographic vision, as established by John Pinkerton and others in the previous decades. The maps are notable for their massive scale, heavy stock, elegant color work, and easy-to-read typefaces. Although the atlas stopped being published after 1821, Thomson continued to offer 'supplementary' maps that could be tipped into the atlas as late as 1830, when he declared bankruptcy. The maps in the Thomson Atlas were engraved by Thomas Clerk, William Dassauville, Nathaniel Rogers Hewitt, James Kirkwood, Robert Kirkwood, John Menzies, George Menzies, Edward Mitchell, John Moffatt, Samuel John Neele, Robert Scott, and James Wyld.John Thomson (fl. 1804 - 1837) was a Scottish cartographer, publisher and bookbinder active in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century. Thomson is generally one of the leading masters of the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Thomson & his contemporaries (Pinkerton & Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Thomson's principle works include the Thomson's New General Atlas, published from 1814 to 1821 and his Atlas of Scotland. The "Atlas of Scotland, a work of groundbreaking detail and dedication would eventually bankrupt the Thomson firm in 1830. Today Thomson maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their monumental size, vivid hand coloration, and superb detail.
Thomson, J. A New General Atlas, (Edinburgh) 1814.
Very good condition. Original centerfold. Some offsetting. Blank on verso. Original platemark visible.
Rumsey 1007.041. Phillips (Atlases) 731. Newberry Library: Ayer 135 T4 1817.