Catalog Archive
Auction 157, Lot 116

"The British Colonies; Their History, Extent, Condition, and Resources Vol. I. British North America", Martin, Montgomery

Subject: Canada

Period: 1850 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

7.8 x 11.1 inches
19.8 x 28.2 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 volume one from Martin Montgomery's six-volume set of the British Colonies describing the history, topography, geology, population, government and commerce of Canada. Included in the volume are seven maps of the region by John Tallis including: The World on Mercators Projection, Western Hemisphere, British America, North America, Western or Upper Canada, Eastern or Lower Canada, and Nova Scotia. The maps are beautifully engraved by John Rapkin, each with several interesting vignettes. In addition to the maps, the volume features portraits of Queen Elizabeth (frontispiece), Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake, Charles II, Queen Anne, Earl of Chatham, and Earl Howe. Frontispiece, two title pages, dedication, introduction, text and maps. 744 pp. Quarto, hardbound in quarter leather and tips over marbled boards with gilt title and raised bands on spine.


Condition: B+

The maps, in original outline color, are very good to near fine with pleasant light toning and minor soiling. Plates and text are also very good with minor staining in the portrait of Queen Elizabeth and the title page. Covers and spine have moderate wear and the edges are bumped. A previous owner's bookplate is pasted to the inside front cover and the front free-endpaper is loose.

Estimate: $700 - $900

Sold for: $500

Closed on 5/4/2016