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1835 Hall Map of Burma or Myanmar

Birmah, with part of Anan and Siam. - Main View

1835 Hall Map of Burma or Myanmar



Birmah, with part of Anan and Siam.
  1835 (undated)     21 x 17 in (53.34 x 43.18 cm)     1 : 3168000


This is a beautiful map of Burma (Myanmar) from Sidney Hall's extremely scarce 1835 New General Atlas. It covers from Assam and the mouth of the Ganges River in Bangladesh to the Gulf of Siam (Gulf of Thailand) and includes part of the modern day countries of India, Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Laos, China and Thailand. Countless towns and cities along the Erawadi (Irrawadi) River and its tributaries are marked. Several indigenous tribes are also named, including the Naga, Karaen, Koojangs and Loochaees. Ava (Inwa), the ancient imperial capital of several Burmese Kingdoms is here marked as 'Formerly the capital in Ruins.' The city was destroyed and abandoned in 1839 after a series of major earthquakes. Hall prepared this map as Burma was recovering from the First Anglo-Burmese War. The first of the three wars fought between the British and the Burmese Empire, the First Anglo-Burmese War, was the longest and most expensive war in the history of British India. Burma lost the war and its control over Assam, Manipur, Arakan and Tenasserim. Following the war, Burma was economically devastated for years due to payment of heavy reparations amounting to over 1 million British Pounds.

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. More by this mapmaker...


Hall, S., A New General Atlas, with the Divisions and Boundaries, 1835.    


Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original centerfold. Some offsetting. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 4224.033 (1830 edition). Philips (Atlases) 758. Ristow, W., American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, p. 303-09.