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1814 Thomson Map of the Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic or Western Ocean. - Main View

1814 Thomson Map of the Atlantic Ocean




Atlantic or Western Ocean.
  1814     20 x 25 in (50.8 x 63.5 cm)


This fascinating hand colored 1814 map by Edinburgh cartographer John Thomson depicts the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. Extends as for north as Iceland and as far south as Brazil and the Congo. Made during the Napoleonic wars, this stunning map includes references to important battles and nautical routes of the period, including the route taken by Lord Nelson in pursuit of the French in 1805. Also includes path of the Insurgent, which disappeared in the West Indies after being harassed by the French navy, eventually giving rise to the Bermuda Triangle legend. Features a host of nautical notations on the Gulf Stream current, breakers, banks, trade winds and even a supposed 'Maalstroom very Uncertain (West of the Cape Verde Islands).' Inland detail is minimal though important port cities and regions are noted.


John Thomson (1777 - c. 1841) was a Scottish cartographer, publisher, and bookbinder active in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century. Thomson apprenticed under Edinburgh bookbinder Robert Alison. After his apprenticeship he briefly went into business with Abraham Thomson. Later the two parted ways, John Thomson segueing into maps and Abraham Thomson taking over the bookbinding portion of the business. Thomson is generally one of the leading publishers in the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Thomson and his contemporaries (Pinkerton and 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 Thomson's New General Atlas, published from 1814 to 1821, the New Classical and Historical Atlas of 1829, and his 1830 Atlas of Scotland. The Atlas of Scotland, a work of groundbreaking detail and dedication would eventually bankrupt the Thomson firm in 1830, at which time their plates were sequestered by the court. The firm partially recovered in the subsequent year allowing Thomson to reclaim his printing plates in 1831, but filed again for bankruptcy in 1835, at which time most of his printing plates were sold to A. K. Johnston and Company. There is some suggestion that he continued to work as a bookbinder until 1841. Today, Thomson maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their impressive size, vivid hand coloration, and superb detail. Learn More...


Very Good condition. Wide clean margins. Original centerfold, as issued. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.