Western Hemisphere. Eastern Hemisphere.
1835 (undated) 20 x 18 in (50.8 x 45.72 cm)
1 : 51000000
This is a beautiful set of two maps of the World on hemispherical projections from Sidney Hall's extremely scarce 1835 New General Atlas. They depict the Western and Eastern Hemispheres offering a fascinating snapshot of the world during a period of rapid globalization and discovery. Both maps note towns, rivers, mountains, deserts, islands, and various other important topographical details. Elevation throughout is rendered by hachure and political and territorial boundaries are outlined in color.
The map of the Western Hemisphere covers North America, South America, West Indies and most of Polynesia, including New Zealand. The borders of the United States predated the Annexation of Texas and the Mexican American War, but include Oregon. In a unusual move for a British cartographer Hall recognizes American rather than British claims to the British Columbia - Vancouver region. Perhaps his sympathies secretly lay with the former colonies? Numerous islands are identified along with notes on their discovery. Near the southern tip of South America, Hall marks the Aurora Islands 'doubtful.' The Aurora Islands were a group of three islands first reported in 1762 by the Spanish ship Aurora while sailing from Lima to Cadiz. They were subsequently and repeatedly sighted several times over the next 90 years. The last official sighting was 1852, after which they were ascribed to myth. Though the Aurora Islands never really existed they continued to appear on maps well into the mid-19th century. Wessell's voyage to latitude 74°15' S (the region that would later be known as the Weddell Sea) is here noted. Hall also marks the southernmost point of Captain Cook's explorations aboard the HMS Resolution. It was this voyage that decisively proved the postulated continent of Terra Australis to be a myth. The Antarctic continent, first sighted in 1820, but neglected during the first half of the 19th century, does not appear on the map.
The map of the Eastern Hemisphere includes the entirety of Asia, Europe and Africa as well as Australia and much of the Pacific. The interior of Australia is blank though the coastal colonies are noted. The western part of the continent is there identified as 'New Holland,' a term that would fall out of favor shortly after this map was printed. In Africa, Hall chooses to leave much of the interior blank and instead focuses known areas, or more precisely, areas perceived to be known. These include Mediterranean North Africa, Egypt, Abyssinia, the western Niger valley, the Congo, South Africa, and the lands of Mozambique and Monomotapa (Zimbabwe). Taiwan or Formosa (alternately labeled Taiouan) is mapped vaguely, representing the poor knowledge of the region prior to the Japanese invasion and subsequent survey work in 1895. The disputed sea between Japan and Korea is here identified as the 'Sea of Japan.'
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.
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.
Hall, S., A New General Atlas, with the Divisions and Boundaries, 1835.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original centerfold. Some offsetting on Eastern Hemisphere sheet. Blank on verso. Size indicated represents a single sheet. Both sheets are the same size.
Rumsey 4224.001 (1830 edition). Philips (Atlases) 758. Ristow, W., American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, p. 303-09. Tooley, R.V., The mapping of Australia and Antarctica, 2nd ed., p. 92-93. Wheat, C.I., Mapping the transmississippi West, 380, 381, 386.