Catalog Archive
Auction 161, Lot 31

"[Lot of 3] Polynesia or Islands in the Pacific Ocean [and] Islands in the Atlantic [and] Islands in the Indian Ocean", SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Subject: World

Period: 1840 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

See Description

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.

A. Polynesia or Islands in the Pacific Ocean, dated 1840 (15.5 x 12.5"). 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. Condition: Light toning and minor scattered foxing.

B. Islands in the Atlantic (12.8 x 15.7"). A group of 16 insets display the various islands in good detail. The larger insets feature the Azores, the Canary Islands, the Cape de Verde Isles, and the Falklands; others show Bermuda, St. Thomas, St. Helena and Trinidad. Condition: Light toning and minor scattered foxing.

C. Islands in the Indian Ocean (15.4 x 12.2"). Contains eleven small maps of the various island groups. This is one of the few 19th century maps to provide detail of some of these islands. Includes: Madagascar; Amirantes; Seychelle Archipelago; Socotra; Rodrigue or Diego Ruys; Chagos Group; Keeling Isles; Mauritius and Bourbon; Lakadive and Maldive Islands; Nicobar and Andaman Islands; and Kerguelen or Desolation Island. Condition: The paper is somewhat rippled, but clean and bright.

Each map is surrounded by a decorative keyboard-style border, and engraved by J. & C. Walker.


Condition: B+

Original outline color. See description above for additional details.

Estimate: $140 - $170

Sold for: $60

Closed on 2/8/2017