Auction 141, Lot 102

"North America", Tallis, John

Subject: North America

Period: 1850 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

9.8 x 12.7 inches
24.9 x 32.3 cm

The maps from The Illustrated Atlas were first published in serial form to a target audience that led insular lives due to the expense and hardship of travel. All that changed as the progress of the nineteenth century brought swift and dramatic changes in public awareness of far away places. Tallis' maps no doubt played an important role in this dramatic awakening. These maps not only provided up-to-date geographical knowledge, but also used vignette views within the map's design to show the native people and their occupations, cities and points of interest. The maps hark back to a cartographic tradition from the Dutch mapmakers of the seventeenth century with finely engraved decorative borders. The maps were drawn and engraved by John Rapkin with views drawn and engraved by a number of prominent artists. The maps were issued as a complete volume from 1851 until about 1865. Some of the maps were also published in other history books published by Tallis including British Colonies and, without the vignettes, in geographical dictionaries and encyclopedias until about 1880.

This is an unusual version of Tallis’ decorative map of North America. States and territories are not delineated, but the map labels Oregon Territory, Missouri Territory, California and Texas. The border with Mexico is along the Gila River, indicating the map was drawn prior to the Gadsden Purchase. The vignettes surrounding the map are different than the more common Tallis map and include polar bears, buffalo hunting, Indians, Niagara Falls, Capt. Parry’s ship in the Arctic, geysers in Iceland, whale fishing, Columbus’ landing, and a Mayan temple ruin.


Condition: B

Toned with a few spots and minor soiling along the edges of the sheet. Narrow margins.

Estimate: $150 - $200

Sold for: $110

Closed on 9/5/2012