This is a nice 1834 first edition map depicting China and Burma (Myanmar) along with parts of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, or S.D.U.K. Extends from Assam in India east as far as Nagasaki in Japan and from North Korea south to Bangkok in Thailand. Throughout, the map notes several important cities, towns, rivers and topography. The Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal are both identified. The mapping of Korea or the ‘Kingdom of Corea’ is misshapen.
In Burma or Myanmar, Ava, the ancient imperial capital of several Burmese Kingdoms is identified. The city would be destroyed and abandoned in 1839 after a series of major earthquakes. This map was prepared 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.
This map is part of A Series of Maps, Modern and Ancient, issued by subscription. Each folder in the series would contain a set of two maps bound together. The map accompanying this folder, not included here, was of Canada and the United States. Original folder includes the names of committee members of the ‘Society’, list of maps previously published, the folder number, which is this case is LII, its contents and the printer and publication details. This map was engraved by J. and C. Walker and issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge’s subscriber’s edition folder. The folder at the time was priced at 1 shilling plain or 1 shilling 6 pence colored. Published by Baldwin and Cradock and printed by William Clowes.
The "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" (1826 - 1848) was a Whiggish organization founded in 1828 at the instigation of idealistic British lord Henry Peter Brougham. The admirable goal of the Society was to distribute useful information via a series of publications to the English working and middle classes. It promoted self-education and the egalitarian sharing of all knowledge. While closely tied to the London University and publishing houses on the order of Baldwin and Cradock, Chapman and Hall, and Charles Knight, the Society failed to achieve its many lofty goals in finally closed its doors in 1848. Most likely the failure of the Society resulted from its publications being too expensive for its intended lower to middle class markets and yet not large and fine enough to appeal to the aristocratic market. Nonetheless, it did manage to publish several extraordinary atlases of impressive detail and sophistication. Their most prominent atlas consisted of some 200 separately issued maps initially published by Baldwin and Cradock and sold by subscription from 1829 to 1844. Afterwards, the Society combined the maps into a single world atlas published under the Chapman and Hall imprint. In its day, this atlas was unprecedented in its quality, scope, and cost effectiveness. Today Society, or S.D.U.K. as it is commonly known, maps are among the most impressive examples of mid-19th century English mass market cartographic publishing available. The S.D.U.K. is especially known for its beautiful and accurately detailed city plans. Learn More...
Baldwin and Cradock (fl. c. 1810 - 1860) were London based publishers working in the early to mid 19th century. They are best known for their publication of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge's ground breaking subscription atlas. They also published John Thomson's magnificent New General Atlas from 1814 - c. 1820. In addition to their cartographic corpus, the firm had wide ranging publishing interests in many other areas, including books, broadsides, and an investment in Blackwoods Magazine. They had their offices at 47 Paternoster Row, London, England. This firm also published under the imprint Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy and Cradock and Joy. Learn More...
John Walker, Alexander Walker and Charles Walker, known collectively as J & C Walker (fl. 1820-95), were engravers, draughtsmen and publishers working through the 19th century. They had several offices 47 Bernard St Russel Sq (from 1830 - 1836), 3 Burleigh St Strand (from 1837 to 1840), 9 Castle St Holborn (from 1841 to 1847) and 37 Castle St Holborn (from 1848 to 1875). The firm is best known for its work in conjunction with the maps issued by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge or, as it is more commonly known, the S.D.U.K. However, they also engraved a large corpus of work for the British Admiralty , as well as issuing several important maps of India and multiple issues of the Royal Atlas. Learn More...
A Series of Maps, Modern and Ancient, 1834.
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (S.D.U.K.) Atlas was initially issued in parts over several years by Baldwin and Craddock to promote the society's mission of egalitarian self-education. The first S.D.U.K. began appearing in 1829 when the society contracted John Walker to produce the first proofs. The first S.D.U.K maps were produced serially by Baldwin and Craddock and issued in 2 map batches, priced at 2 shillings each. The series, originally anticipated to feature 50 maps, ultimately contained 200 and took over 14 years to produce. The initial production was completed in 1844 when the whole was issued in its first compiled atlas edition. Around 1842, following the 1837 bankruptcy of Baldwin and Craddock, publication of the atlas was taken over by the Society itself, who issued editions in 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, and 1842. Overburdened by the work of publishing, they then outsourced the publication to Chapman and Hall in 1842. Chapman and Hall produced editions in 1842, 1843, and 1844. Dissatisfied with the quality of Chapman and Hall printing, the Society turned to another publisher, Charles Knight, who issued editions under the auspices of the Society in 1844, 1845, and 1846. In 1846 Knight officially acquired the plates in his own right and reissued in revised editions until 1852, when he sold them to George Cox. Cox in turn sold them to Edward Stanford who published them from 1856 well into the 1860s. The S.D.U.K. Atlas is known for the quantity and quality of its maps. The S.D.U.K. published many maps of areas largely ignored by other publishers. The many city plans incorporated into the atlas are particularly admired and are the highlight of the S.D.U.K.'s long map publishing history. As a whole the S.D.U.K. Atlas was groundbreaking in terms of quality, scope, and being offer at a cost effective price point.
Very good. Minor spotting. Accompanied by original subscription folder.
Rumsey 0890.107 (atlas edition).