1835 Hall Map of Prussia
Description: This is a beautiful map of Prussia from Sidney Hall's extremely scarce 1835 New General Atlas. Covering parts of the modern day nations of Poland, Lithuania and Germany, Prussia stretches across the map from Lower Rhine moving eastward, including Brandenburg and Saxony, to East Prussia. Hall notes towns, rivers, mountains, railroads, and various other important topographical details. Elevation throughout is rendered by hachure and political and territorial boundaries are outlined in color. The map also identifies several battlegrounds, including the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1806, the Battle of Dresden in 1813 and the Battle of Minden in 1759. Prussia attained its greatest importance in the 18th and 19th centuries when it dominated northern Germany politically, economically, and in population. The German Confederation, created in 1814, acted as a buffer zone between Austria and Prussia, its two largest and most powerful member states. Nonetheless the rivalry between the two powerful states increased until the break out of the Austro-Prussian War. Prussia won the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 which ultimately led to the collapse of the German Confederation. A few years later, in 1871, most of the former Confederation states were folded into the newly proclaimed German Empire.
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.
Date: 1835 (undated)
Source: Hall, S., A New General Atlas, with the Divisions and Boundaries, 1835.
References: Rumsey 4224.011 (1830 edition). Philips (Atlases) 758. Ristow, W., American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, p. 303-09.
Cartographer: 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. Click here for a list of rare maps by Sidney Hall.
Size: Printed area measures 21 x 17 inches (53.34 x 43.18 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 2304000
Condition: Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original centerfold. Some offsetting. Blank on verso.
Code: Prussia-hall-1835 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)