1890 Bacon View Map of South Africa

Bacon's Bird's-Eye View of South Africa during the 'South African Crisis'. - Main View

1890 Bacon View Map of South Africa


British-Boer competition in Southern Africa.


Bacon's Bird's-Eye View of South Africa during the 'South African Crisis'.
  1890 (undated)     24 x 32 in (60.96 x 81.28 cm)


An impressive c. 1890 chromolithograph view and map of South Africa extending from the Limpopo River to Cape Agulhas and from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans. It was published during the 'South African Crisis,' leading up to and including the Second Boer War (1898 - 1901).
A Closer Look
The view details roadways, rivers, towns and cities, rivers, mountains, and other political and geographical features. An inset in the upper left details the region from Mafeking (Mahikeng) to Pretoria. A second inset the lower right details northern Natal (KwaZulu-Natal).
Historical Context
This view was issued to capitalize on British civilian interest in the Boer Wars. The Boer Wars were fought during 1880 - 1881 and 1899 - 1902 by the British Empire against the settlers of two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. Both wars were part of the British efforts to consolidate South Africa, particularly after the Witwatersrand Gold Rush of 1886 spurred aggressive British migration to the Transvaal.
Chromolithography, sometimes called oleography, is a color lithographic technique developed in the mid-19th century. The process involved using multiple lithographic stones, one for each color, to yield a rich composite effect. Oftentimes, the process would start with a black basecoat upon which subsequent colors were layered. Some chromolithographs used 30 or more separate lithographic stones to achieve the desired product. Chromolithograph color could also be effectively blended for even more dramatic results. The process became extremely popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it emerged as the dominant method of color printing. The vivid color chromolithography produced made it exceptionally effective for advertising and propaganda imagery.
Publication History and Census
There were at least three different editions of this view, all undated but published approximately in 1890, 1899, and 1901, with the latter two coinciding with the Second Boer War and often included in a booklet titled 'The South African crisis.' The editions are distinguished by the location of the title, either within the main image, as here, or along the bottom margin, and other minor differences. In editions with the title in the bottom margin, the view extends slightly further to the northeast to include a corner of Portuguese East Africa. Presumably, the views including Portuguese East Africa are later editions, as Portugal sought to check British influence in Southern Africa and moved the capital of its East African colony to nearby Lourenço Marques (Maputo) in 1898; thus, the present example should be the earliest edition. Due to uncertainty over the date, there are ten listings in the OCLC under this title, with any edition of the view being held by eleven institutions in North America, Europe, and South Africa, including, in the United States, the New York Public Library, Yale University, Princeton University, the Boston Athenaeum, and the State Library of Massachusetts.


George Washington Bacon (1830 - 1922) was a London based book and map publisher active in the mid to late 19th century. Bacon's firm G.W. Bacon and Co. purchased the plates created by Edward Weller for the Weekly Dispatch Atlas then modified and updated them for several of their own important atlases, including The New Ordnance Atlas of the British Isles. In 1893, Bacon & Co. acquired the map publishing business of J. Wyld. Then, around the turn of the century, Bacon & Co. itself was folded into the Scottish publishing house of W.& A.K. Johnston. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Slight wear along fold lines.


OCLC 35108945 (c. 1900 edition with booklet 'The South African Crisis').