1835 (undated) 17 x 21 in (43.18 x 53.34 cm)
1 : 1560000
This is a beautiful map of southern Italy and Sicily from Sidney Hall's extremely scarce 1835 New General Atlas. It covers the Kingdom of Naples (a common reference for the 'Kingdom of the Two Sicilies') which extended from the Papal States south to include all of Sicily. An inset along the left border details the Island of Sardinia. Towns, rivers, mountains, railroads, canals, marshes, forests, and various other important topographical details are noted. Elevation throughout is rendered by hachure and political and territorial boundaries are outlined in color.
This map predates the Italian solidarity movement and consequently, the peninsula is divided into an assortment of kingdoms, duchies, republics and states. The Kingdom of Naples was the richest and largest Italian state before the Italian unification. Following the defeat of Napoleon and the merging of Sicily and Naples into the Two Sicilies, the Island of Sicily witnessed revolts against the Bourbon rule in 1820 and 1848. The final revolution in 1848 resulted in the island gaining independence from Bourbon control for 16 months. This period thus also saw the birth of the ‘La Giovine Italia' Italian solidarity movement. In 1830 a series of insurrections throughout Italy lead to the adoption of the Tricolore and nearly established a united Italian state. Unfortunately, in 1831, Pope Gregory XVI invited the Austrian army to help crush the insurrections, postponing the push for Italian solidarity until the Revolutions of 1848.
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. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 4224.020 (1830 edition). Philips (Atlases) 758. Ristow, W., American Maps and Mapmakers: Commercial Cartography in the Nineteenth Century, p. 303-09.