Poland As Divided.
1817 (undated) 18 x 20 in (45.72 x 50.8 cm)
This is an exceptionally fine example of John Thomson's 1817 map of Poland. Thomson's map covers Poland following Napoleonic Wars and the treaties of the 1815 Congress of Vienna. Twenty earlier, in 1795 The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was dismembered and divided between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. During Napoleon's brief period of hegemony in the region he resurrected Poland and Polish hopes for solidarity in the form of the Duchy of Warsaw. Following Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the Victoria powers repartitioned Poland roughly along the lines of the 1785 Third Partition. This event is often referred to as the 'Fourth Partition of Poland' and reflects the borders presented here. Color coding identifies the powers that controlled each part of Poland with yellow representing Russia, Austrian claims in red, and German dominions in blue. Relief is shown by hachure with towns, cities, and major topographical features identified. This map is a steel plate engraving by J. and G. Menzies and was prepared by John Thomson for inclusion in the 1817 edition of Thomson's New General Atlas.
John Thomson (1777 - c. 1841) was a Scottish cartographer, publisher, and bookbinder active in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century. Thomson apprenticed under Edinburgh bookbinder Robert Alison. After his apprenticeship he briefly went into business with Abraham Thomson. Later the two parted ways, John Thomson segueing into maps and Abraham Thomson taking over the bookbinding portion of the business. Thomson is generally one of the leading publishers in the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Thomson and his contemporaries (Pinkerton and Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Thomson's principle works include Thomson's New General Atlas, published from 1814 to 1821, the New Classical and Historical Atlas of 1829, and his 1830 Atlas of Scotland. The Atlas of Scotland, a work of groundbreaking detail and dedication would eventually bankrupt the Thomson firm in 1830, at which time their plates were sequestered by the court. The firm partially recovered in the subsequent year allowing Thomson to reclaim his printing plates in 1831, but filed again for bankruptcy in 1835, at which time most of his printing plates were sold to A. K. Johnston and Company. There is some suggestion that he continued to work as a bookbinder until 1841. Today, Thomson maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their impressive size, vivid hand coloration, and superb detail.
Thomson, J. A New General Atlas, (Edinburgh) 1817.
Very good condition. Original centerfold exhibits some light toning and archival verso reinforcement. Light soiling to outer margins. Some offsetting or transference. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 1007.033. Malinowski, H., The Malinowski collection of Poland, 459. Phillips (Atlases) 731. Newberry Library: Ayer 135 T4 1817.