A Fascinating Collection of Antique Maps<br>From Jonathan Potter
Item 87 is a strange looking map. It’s a map that includes the British isles and parts of northern Europe by scientist and ornithologist George Edwards. Shown on the 1746 map, which was included with his book Natural History of Uncommon Birds, are drawings of a Lesser Humming Bird, the bill of an Egyptian Ibis, and two ugly stag beetles from Borneo, if not as big as all England, then at least as large as Scotland on this map. £300 ($550).
Item 99 is a 1695 London atlas, Camden’s Britannia, Newly Translated Into English… Maps within the atlas include England at various times along with many individual county maps. There are also portraits of old coins, and a drawing of Stonehenge and other antiquities. What I don’t understand is the “translated into English” part. In what language would you write an atlas of Britannia? French? £3,750 ($6,892).
In 1805, during the time of Napoleon, England had one of its most significant naval victories. The French ruler had dreams of conquering England, along with just about everyplace else, but the British were the still the greatest naval power. Napoleon’s dreams of reversing this balance would come to an end in this one-sided Battle of Trafalgar as Britain’s forces, under Lord Nelson, would demolish the French. Britain would rule the seas for another century after this victory. Item 270 is a pair of charts from 1810 illustrating the battle. The first shows Nelson’s ship, the H.M.S. Victory, breeching the French line, which made it difficult for the French to attack the British. The second plate shows the conclusion of the battle. Item 270. £950 ($1,747).
Item 402 is Bowles’s New One Sheet Map of North America… This 1796 London map covers the entire continent, from Central America to the Arctic, with the exception of Alaska. One look at this map (see image this page) will reveal why the Lewis and Clark expedition a few years later would generate such great interest. Most of the continent, even some of the far northern areas of Canada, contains a fair amount of detail, but the Northwest was still essentially a blank slate at the time. £850 ($1,564).
Item 410 is another London map of North America, this time primarily the United States, and the date is 1861, the beginning of the Civil War. The map was a supplement to the June issue of the Illustrated London News, and the states have been shaded to distinguish the Union states from the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the west is divided into territories by boundaries no longer recognized today. £460 ($846).
For those who do not have access to this very interesting catalogue we have some good news. It is available online. Simply go to the following link to see both descriptions and images of the 452 maps and atlases in the catalogue: www.jpmaps.co.uk/catalogue.htm Jonathan Potter Antique Maps may also be reached by phone at 44 (0) 20 7491 3520.