Catalog Archive
Auction 156, Lot 672

"Empire of Japan", SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Subject: Japan

Period: 1835 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

12.6 x 15.4 inches
32 x 39.1 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 handsome map of Japan includes insets of Nagasaki Harbor and the eastern point of Yeso. Below the title are notes concerning both the homes of the Koubo (Secular Emperor), at Yedo, and the Dairi (Spiritual Emperor), at Meaco. At the time of publication, Japan was in the midst of several years of turmoil and political upheaval regarding foreign trade. The Koubo regarded open trade as a economic necessity, whilst a growing anti-foreign movement supported an Imperial restoration. Engraved by J. & C. Walker and published by Baldwin & Cradock. Keyboard style border.


Condition: A

Original outline color with a hint of soiling and a short edge tear in the left blank margin.

Estimate: $70 - $100

Sold for: $65

Closed on 2/17/2016