Auction 140, Lot 33

A Seminal Map Illustrating the Important Discoveries of the Last Decade of the 18th Century

"Map of the World on a Globular Projection Exhibiting Particularly the Nautical Researches of Capn. James Cook…", Arrowsmith, Aaron, Sr.

Subject: World

Period: 1799 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

72.5 x 38.5 inches
184.2 x 97.8 cm

This impressive large-scale double-hemisphere map was designed to illustrate the routes and discoveries of Captain Cook. Originally published in 1794, it illustrates the important discoveries made in the Pacific and Arctic at the end of the 18th century. The map is dedicated to Alexander Dalrymple, the British Hydrographer, and includes a portrait of Dalrymple at bottom and one of Cook at top. There are numerous notations throughout of discoveries by various explorers, including Cook, Mackenzie and Hearne. The United States is depicted just prior to the Louisiana Purchase, which occurred in 1803. The important discoveries made by Cook on the east coast of Australia (New Holland) are carefully noted and the newly discovered (1798) Bass Strait between Australia and Tasmania is present.

An interesting and scarce feature on this map is the state of Franklin, nestled alongside the Appalachian Mountains through parts of present-day Tennessee and North Carolina. In 1785 settlers in present-day western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee organized a state government to be named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Congress turned down their appeal but the fledgling state maintained a legislature and governor until 1788. This ephemeral state only appears on a small number of maps published in the late 18th century.

Aaron Arrowsmith established his own cartographic business in 1790 after working with Faden and Cary for two decades. He quickly became one of the most prominent mapmakers in London and established an international reputation. That reputation was built on his ability to gather up-to-date information from a wide variety of sources and compile the most accurate and highly detailed maps. He went on to become Hydrographer to the King of England and Geographer to the Prince of Wales. He specialized in large-format, multi-sheet, separately issued maps that are now very scarce.

Printed on four sheets, joined, with title and dedication separately printed and pasted on the map, as issued.

References: Stevens & Tree (MCC-39) #91b; Kashnor, Leon (MC #4), p.29.

Condition: A

Original outline color with minor refreshing, a few small spots, and faint damp stains in top portion of the map. There are two 2.5" tears in the northern portion of the eastern hemisphere, as well as minor tears and chips along sheet edges that have all been professionally repaired. Excellent condition for a map of this size.

Estimate: $16,000 - $20,000

Sold for: $12,000

Closed on 5/23/2012