1814 Thomson Map of the Northern Hemisphere and the Arctic

Northern Hemisphere.

1814 Thomson Map of the Northern Hemisphere and the Arctic


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Northern Hemisphere.
  1814 (dated)    22 x 21 in (55.88 x 53.34 cm)     1 : 41000000


This fascinating hand colored 1814 map by Edinburgh cartographer John Thomson depicts the Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic to the Equator. Includes all of North America, Europe, and Asia as well as the northern part of Africa and South America. Impressive detail encompasses both political and geographic features. In Africa the mythical Mountains of Kong are shown extending eastward to join with the Mountains of the Moon – mythical source of the Nile River. Exhibits a general lack of information regarding the Arctic and connects Greenland with the mainland. Seems to leave the possibility of a Northeast, though not a Northwest, passage open. Engraved by Kirkwood and published by Baldwin and Cradock in Thomson's 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.

Robert Baldwin and Cradock (early 19th Century) were London based published working in the early to mid 19th century. They are best known for their publication of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge's ground breaking subscription atlas. They also published John Thomson's magnificent New General Atlas from 1814 - c. 1820. In addition to their cartographic corpus, the firm had wide ranging publishing interests in many other areas, including books, broadsides, and an investment in Blackwoods Magazine. They had their offices at 47 Paternoster Row, London, England.


Thomson, John. A new general atlas, consisting of a series of geographical designs, on various projections, exhibiting the form and component parts of the globe; and a collection of maps and charts, delineating the natural and political divisions of the empires, kingdoms, and states in the World. Constructed from the best systematic works, and the most authentic voyages and travels. With a memoir of the progress of geography, a summary of physical geography, and a consulting index to facilitate the finding out of places. (1817 edition).    


Very good. Original platemark visible. Original centerfold visible. Minor spotting over margins.


Rumsey 1007.003. Phillips (Atlases) 731. Newberry Library: Ayer +135 T4 1817.