Auction 133, Lot 712

"The Chronology and History of the World, from the Creation to the Year of Christ, 1790", Blair, Rev. John

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1790 (dated)


Color: Black & White

13 x 19 inches
33 x 48.3 cm

This is probably one of the best obtainable examples of Blair's work. It covers world history up to the date of publication through use of 16 double page maps and numerous chronological table plates, all double page. The title page is beautifully engraved with scroll titling and dated MDCCXC. Next is an elaborate engraved dedication page to "Augusta Princess Dowager of Wales" with a large Royal Coat of Arms. There is a twenty page preface as well as an extensive thirty-three page index. There are fourteen listed maps, 7 ancient and 7 contemporary including a map of North America which is really a map of the American colonies as they were in 1768. The maps were engraved by Thomas Kitchin. This edition has the addition of a triple-page hemispheric world map dated 1779 and a map of the continent of India dated 1773. All the maps are very detailed and finely engraved, printed on high quality paper with large watermarks.

Many of the maps are spectacular, but the superb map of the British Colonies (A Map of North America from the Latest Surveys and Maps) rates separate comment. The map shows the Atlantic seaboard west beyond the Mississippi River during the transitional period leading up to the American Revolution. The map shows much of the region controlled by the British after the French and Indian War. Several of the colonial charters show their boundaries extending off the map to an indeterminate western boundary. The charter and dates are noted along the colonial boundaries, which extend through Louisiana, a Spanish possession at the time this map was made. Another conflicting boundary is New Mexico's eastern line, which travels north along the R. Mexicano (Sabine River) before turning northwest where it intersects with North Carolina's southern border. Texas is shown in the larger New Mexico region as Cenis. Finely engraved by Thomas Kitchin, the map shows a good amount of detail regarding topography and watershed, Indian lands, settlements, fishing banks, and more.

The covers are highly decorative, being a fancy presentation edition. Hardbound in rippled dark red leather with decorative gold highlighting and elaborate hand tooling on both covers and the spine, which is literally covered with gilt tooling between the six raised ribs. All pages edges are in gold (TEG). Inside covers are heavy marbled paper. A beautiful presentation.


Condition: A

The pages, maps and tables are generally clean and bright, fine (A+) condition. The maps of Palestine, Greece and West Indies have some light offsetting (B+), the map of Germany has a band at left of slightly darker toning from the triple fold. The covers have mild shelf wear and light soiling.

Estimate: $1,800 - $2,200

Sold for: $2,500

Closed on 9/1/2010