1817 Thomson Map of Poland and Lithuania

Poland As Divided.

1817 Thomson Map of Poland and Lithuania


Shows the 'Fourth Partition of Poland' following the Napoleonic Wars.

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Poland As Divided.
  1817 (undated)    18 x 20 in (45.72 x 50.8 cm)


This is an exceptionally fine example of John Thomson's 1817 map of Poland. Thomson's map covers Poland following Napoleonic Wars and the treaties of the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Twenty earlier, in 1795 The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was dismembered and divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. During Napoleon's brief period of hegemony in the region he resurrected Poland and Polish hopes for solidarity in the form of the Duchy of Warsaw. Following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the Victoria powers repartitioned Poland roughly along the lines of the 1785 Third Partition. This event is often referred to as the 'Fourth Partition of Poland' and reflects the borders presented here. Color coding identifies the powers that controlled each part of Poland with yellow representing Russia, Austrian claims in red, and German dominions in blue. Relief is shown by hachure with towns, cities, and major topographical features identified. This map is a steel plate engraving by J. and G. Menzies and was prepared by John Thomson for inclusion in the 1817 edition of Thomson's 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) 1817.    


Very good condition. Original centerfold exhibits some light toning and archival verso reinforcement. Light soiling to outer margins. Some offsetting or transference. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 1007.033. Malinowski, H., The Malinowski collection of Poland, 459. Phillips (Atlases) 731. Newberry Library: Ayer 135 T4 1817.