1832 (dated) 12.5 x 15.5 in (31.75 x 39.37 cm)
A beautiful example of the 1832 S.D.U.K. map of Pompeii, Italy. Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius, in A.D. 79 and remained buried under ash until its rediscovery in 1748. Though excavations had been in process for nearly 60 years when this map was printed, very little of this ancient Roman city had been unearthed. The excavated portions of Pompeii, confined to the right hand quadrants of the map, drew the attention of the world as more and more of the fantastically preserved pleasure city was unearthed. For Englishmen and women visiting Italy as part of the 'Grand Tour,' Pompeii was a must see. The discoveries here, reported by travelers, may have been partially responsible for the classical revival of the mid 19th century. Map shows the walled city of Pompeii with numerous important buildings labeled including the Amphitheater, the Villa of Julia Felix, the Forum, the Grand Theater, the Temple of Hercules, the Basilica, and the Grand Court, to name but a few. An inset map in the lower left hand quadrant shows Vesuvius and vicinity. Another inset set in the 'unexcavated' portions of Pompeii, shows the layout of a typical Pompeii villa. A decorative view along the bottom of the map shows the cities as it must have appeared to 19th century travelers. Above this view are artistic renderings of important Pompeii Buildings. Drawn by W. B. Clarke and engraved by T. E. Nicholson for publication in the 1844 Baldwin and Craddock's issue of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge Atlas.
The "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" 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.
Baldwin & Craddock, Maps of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Vol. 1. London: Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand, 1844.
Very good condition. Minor margin repairs. Light toning.
Rumsey 0890.200. Phillips (Atlases), 794.