A new and easy Map of Matter-of-Money comprising all the late Discoveries made, and Observations Taken A.D. 1840.
8 x 5 in (20.32 x 12.7 cm)
A charming and curious 1840 allegorical manuscript map illustrating, according to its title, 'Matter-of-Money'. The title can be somewhat misleading, suggesting that this map is intended to represent business dealings, but from the content, this item clearly follows in the tradition of early 19th century English allegorical representations of the joys and pitfalls of matrimony. The author leads the map's reader on an satirical voyage from the 'Land of Bachelors' and the 'Pleasant Isles' in the lower left, past the 'Port of Hymen River', around 'Cape Doubtful' and the 'Cape of Scandal', past the tempting 'Vixen Isles', to the 'Bay of Engagement' with its treacherous 'Whirlpool of Perplexity' to arrive at the central 'Province of Jeweller's Milliners and c.' and thence to the 'Ocean of Admiration,' 'Land of Promise,' and 'Kingdom of Surprise.' Other possible destinations are the 'United States of Agitation,' the 'Vale of Gladness, and 'the 'Mountains of Delay' (which incidentally are inhabited by Lawyers), among others. A country church and small attendant gazebo decorate the upper right corner. The whole is beautifully rendered and colored by an unknown author. The map is dated 1840, though curiously the '4' is upside down.
Such allegorical maps depicting the pitfalls of life and marriage began appearing around 1654 when Madeline de Scudery (1607-1701) prepared a map of love entitled 'Carte de Tendre' to serve as the board for a social parlor game. Scudery is considered by many to be the inventor of the allegorical map genre despite the fact that occasional earlier examples do exist. Her allegorical map 'Carte de Tendre' became enormously popular and invited stylistic emulation. Many similar maps followed well into modern times. Many such examples were composed in manuscript, especially in the 19th century. Most such maps follow earlier conventions to a greater or lesser extent, often utilizing similar toponyms. 'United States of Agitation' and 'Land of Promise' are, for example, common. These themed allegorical maps are not merely a rosy prospective on love and marriage, but rather in illustrating societal expectations, dangers, disappointments, and likely moral pitfalls, provide a critical analysis of the institution in focus and society in general. Other such maps focused on various institutions including faith, morality, business, and the 'life path.' Most had extremely small print runs, or were unique manuscripts, making all such maps extremely uncommon.
Very good. Slight matt burn. Mansucript.