Catalog Archive
Auction 126, Lot 102

"Amerique Septentrionale", Levasseur, Victor

Subject: North America, Texas

Period: 1840 (circa)

Publication: Atlas Universel Illustre

Color: Hand Color

16.7 x 11 inches
42.4 x 27.9 cm
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Victor Levasseur's "Atlas National Illustre" and "Atlas Universel Illustre" are among the last decorative atlases published. The maps are all lavishly illustrated with scenes of the countryside, products and activities indigenous to the region.

This richly engraved map shows the United States extending into present-day Canada up to the 55° latitude line and Russia in control of Alaska. The Republic of Texas is shown with engraved line and hand coloring. Mexico's northern border is drawn according to the Treaty of 1819 (here mis-printed as 1810). Surrounded by beautifully engraved scenes of North and Central America including wildlife, a ship stranded in the polar sea and a Mayan temple. The surrounding scenes are uncolored, as issued.

The United States and Great Britain established in 1818 joint claim over the Oregon Territory - the region north of Spanish controlled Upper California up to the southern boundary of Russia's Alaska Territory at north latitude 54°40'. By the late 1830's this arrangement was beginning to fall apart. In the 1840's the expansionist Democrats, including their 1844 presidential candidate, James Polk, claimed the entire region for the United States. Their expansionist desires were expressed by Polk's famous campaign slogan, "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" The slogan also became a rally cry for Americans desiring to settle the territory. Following Polk's election, the dispute was resolved by the 1846 Treaty of Oregon, which struck a compromise that fixed the U.S./Canadian boundary at 49º North.


Condition: A

A very nice example with full margins, bright impression and fine original hand coloring. It is common to see weakness of image in the map at the upper right near the strandled ship, but this example is exceptional for the strength of impression in this area.

Estimate: $350 - $450

Sold for: $220

Closed on 12/3/2008