1818 Pinkerton Map of the West Indies, Antilles, and Caribbean Sea

West Indies.

1818 Pinkerton Map of the West Indies, Antilles, and Caribbean Sea


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West Indies.
  1818 (undated)    21 x 28 in (53.34 x 71.12 cm)


Extraordinary large format map of the West Indies published in 1818 by cartographer John Pinkerton. Centered on the island of Hispaniola or Santo Domingo, this map covers from the Bay of Honduras to the Windward Isles, and from Florida and the Bahamas south to Lake Maracaibo and the Spanish Main. Includes Cuba, Jamaica, Porto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and southern Florida. In Florida there is a large inland lake, labeled Mayaco, which is no doubt an embryonic representation of Lake Okeechobee. Pinkerton offers extraordinary detail throughout noting both physical and political elements, including shoals, reefs, and other undersea dangers. Possibly the most attractive English map of the West Indies to appear in the early 19th century. Drawn by L. Herbert and engraved by Samuel Neele under the direction of John Pinkerton. The map comes from the scarce American edition of Pinkerton's Modern Atlas, published by Thomas Dobson & Co. of Philadelphia in 1818.


John Pinkerton (1758-1826) was one of the leading masters of the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Pinkerton & his contemporaries (Thomson & Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastical beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Pinkerton's principle work is the "Pinkerton's Modern Atlas" published from 1808 through 1815 with a special American reissue by Dobson & Co. in 1818. Today Pinkerton maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their unsurpassed quality, monumental size, vivid hand coloration, and flawless detail.

Thomas Dobson was an American publisher active in Philadelphia during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dobson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1751 and emigrated to Philadelphia c. 1780. In Philadelphia, he established a successful printing business by republishing edited and updated versions of important British reference materials in matching quality but at a much lower price point. He is best known for publishing the first American edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He also published America's first Hebrew Bible. Cartographically Dobson's most notable work is 1818 republication of Pinkerton's fantastic Modern Atlas.


Pinkerton, J., A Modern Atlas, from the Lates and Best Authorities, Exhibiting the Various Divisions of the World with its chief Empires, Kingdoms, and States; in Sixty Maps, carefully reduced from the Larges and Most Authentic Sources. 1818, Philadelphia, Thomas Dobson Edition.    


Very good condition. Very minor damp staining lower left corner, mostly confined to outer margins. Transference near Jamaica and northwest of Cuba. Original centerfold. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 0732.049. Phillips (Atlases) 724. National Maritime Museum, 409. Phillips (America), p. 1062.