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1823 Manuscript Map of the Western Hemishere


Western Hemisphere.
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Title:    Western Hemisphere.

Description:    An unusual and beautiful semi-manuscript map of the Western Hemisphere dating to 1823. The printed portions of this map follow the cartography of James Wyld and include the basic outlines of the continents, latitude and longitude lines, the equator, the tropics, the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Meridian of London. The remainder of the map, including all textual labels and color work, had been completed in manuscript, that is to say, hand drawn. Wyld most likely produced this map intentionally without labels for use as a classroom workbook by which children could learn geography by filling in the blanks.

The manuscript geographical data and detail throughout is altogether outstanding. The work is completed in a fine hand adept at decorative text and the rendering of rivers and mountains. The geography follows the conventions of the period. In North America, California is identified as part of Mexico. Further north the Oregon-British Columbia border, as might be expected of an englishman, follows the Columbia River, well south of the current border. South America, illustrated in the midst of its wars of independence, features Colombia, Guyana, Brazil, La Plata and Patagonia. Parts of Greenland and Siberia, erroneously labeled 'Kamscatka,' are also mapped. So too are New Zealand and various Polynesian Islands. South of Tierra del Fuego, the 1819 discovery of the South Shetland Islands is noted. Canada appears as New Britain.

An altogether unique and wonderful one of a kind find.


Date:    1823 (undated)

Cartographer:    James Wyld I (1790 - 1836) and his son James Wyld II (1812 - 1887) were the principles of English mapmaking dynasty active in London during much of the 19th century. The elder Wyld was a map publisher under William Faden and did considerable work on the Ordinance Survey. On Faden's retirement, the Wyld took over Faden's workshop acquiring many of his plates. Wyld's work can often be distinguished from his son's maps through his imprint, which he signed as "Successor to Faden". Following in his father's footsteps the younger Wyld joined the Royal Cartographical Society in 1830 at the tender age of 18. When his father died in 1836, James Wyld II was prepared to fully take over and expand his father's considerable cartographic enterprise. Like his father and Faden, Wyld II held the title of official Geographer to the Crown, in this case, Queen Victoria. Among his first major decisions was to move operations from William Faden's old office at Charing Cross East to a new larger space at 475 Strand. Wylde II also chose to remove Faden's name for all of his updated map plates. Wyld II continued to update and republish both his father's work and the work of William Faden well into the late 1880s. One of Wyld's most eccentric and notable achievements is his construction of a globe 20 meters in diameter in the heart of Leicester Square. In the 1840s Wyld also embarked upon a political career, being elected to parliament in 1847 and again in 1857. He died in 1887 following a prolific and distinguished career. Click here for a list of rare maps by James Wyld.

Size:   Printed area measures 15 x 15 inches (38.1 x 38.1 centimeters)

Condition:    Very Good. Partial manuscript. Original centerfold. Platemark visible. Wide margins.

Code:   WesternHemisphere-wyld-1823 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)


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