1818 Pinkerton Map of China (with Taiwan or Formosa)


1818 Pinkerton Map of China (with Taiwan or Formosa)


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  1818 (undated)    22.5 x 20.5 in (57.15 x 52.07 cm)


John Pinkerton's highly decorative map of China, published 1818. Covers the China from Chinese Tartary to the kingdom of Tonkin (modern day Vietnam) and from Yunnan to Formosa and Korea. Includes the island of Formosa, alternately labeled Tai-ouan. Macao is noted. Hong Kong island appears, but is not identified. Notes both the Great Wall of China and the 'Barrier of Wooden Pikes Dividing the Province of Quantong or Leaotong from Tartary.' Identifies cities, towns, palaces, fortifications, swamps, mountains and river systems. Lower right hand quadrant features two scales, British Miles and Chinese Ly. Drawn by L. Herbert and engraved by Samuel Neele under the direction of John Pinkerton. This map comes from the scarce American edition of Pinkerton's Modern Atlas, published by Thomas Dobson & Co. of Philadelphia in 1818.


John Pinkerton (1758-1826) was one of the leading masters of the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Pinkerton & his contemporaries (Thomson & Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastical beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Pinkerton's principle work is the "Pinkerton's Modern Atlas" published from 1808 through 1815 with a special American reissue by Dobson & Co. in 1818. Today Pinkerton maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their unsurpassed quality, monumental size, vivid hand coloration, and flawless detail.

Thomas Dobson was an American publisher active in Philadelphia during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dobson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1751 and emigrated to Philadelphia c. 1780. In Philadelphia, he established a successful printing business by republishing edited and updated versions of important British reference materials in matching quality but at a much lower price point. He is best known for publishing the first American edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He also published America's first Hebrew Bible. Cartographically Dobson's most notable work is 1818 republication of Pinkerton's fantastic Modern Atlas.


Pinkerton, J., A Modern Atlas, from the Lates and Best Authorities, Exhibiting the Various Divisions of the World with its chief Empires, Kingdoms, and States; in Sixty Maps, carefully reduced from the Larges and Most Authentic Sources. 1818, Philadelphia, Thomas Dobson Edition.    


Good condition. Original centerfold. Dampstaining in left hand quadrants - please examine image. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0732.034. Phillips (Atlases) 724. National Maritime Museum, 409.