1815 (dated) 20.5 x 24.5 in (52.07 x 62.23 cm)
1 : 450000
This fascinating hand colored 1815 map by Edinburgh cartographer John Thomson depicts Prussia (central and northern Europe). The Map covers from the Baltic Sea to Upper Silesia and from Lower Saxony to Russia, including parts of modern day Poland.
In 1815 Prussia emerged from the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna as the dominant Germanic power. Its new borders included much of the Kingdom of Saxony, Rhineland, and Poland. In subsequent years Prussia would take a leading role in governing the German Confederation. 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 would increase until the break out of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Prussia would win the Austro-Prussian War, which would ultimately lead 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.
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 1815 and issued as plate no. 31 in the 1815 edition of Edinburgh cartographer John 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) 1815.
Very good. Minor wear and verso repair along original centerfold. Margins and borders exhibit some damage with verso reinforcement.
Rumsey 1007.032 (1817 edition). Phillips (Atlases) 731. Newberry Library: Ayer 135 T4 1817.