Auction 140, Lot 837

"Polynesia or Islands in the Pacific Ocean", SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Subject: South Pacific Ocean, Polynesia

Period: 1840 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

15.5 x 12.8 inches
39.4 x 32.5 cm

The beginning of the nineteenth century saw a period of rapid market growth and innovation in the map publishing world. Increased literacy and public interest in new frontiers and colonies overwhelmed the market because it was oriented toward the small, affluent market of the previous century. With the intent to fill this void, The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) was founded in 1828 in London, by Lord Brougham and a group of men dedicated to the education of the aspiring working class and the Utilitarian ideal of 'Knowledge is Power.' The society produced an array of education materials, but the series of maps was one of their most successful ventures. A number of engravers and printers were used to produce the maps, which eventually exceed 200 sheets, and continued to be published after the Society as a whole ceased to function.

This interesting sheet contains numerous inset maps of the islands, each depicted in great detail. Even the tiniest islands, reefs, and banks are shown and named. The majority of the islands include notations of who discovered the island along with the date of discovery. A key at bottom deciphers the abbreviations used on the map. Surrounded by a decorative keyboard-style border, and engraved by J. & C. Walker.


Condition: B+

Original outline color with light toning, a printer's crease at right, and a chip in bottom left corner.

Estimate: $160 - $200


Closed on 5/23/2012