The "Beetle" Map
"Itinera Varia Auctoris",
Subject: Northern Europe
Period: 1746 (dated)
Publication: A Natural History of Uncommon Birds
Color: Hand Color
8.2 x 10.1 inches
20.8 x 25.7 cm
This fascinating map was drawn by artist, naturalist, and ornithologist George Edwards (1694-1773) and was published in his A Natural History of Uncommon Birds (1743-51), a four-volume work featuring more than 200 stunning bird engravings based on Edwards' original drawings. Edwards' publication was immediately popular, and was subsequently republished in several editions. The map shows Edwards' journeys between 1716-1730 to study his beloved birds and other natural creatures, including Holland in 1716 and again in 1730, Norway in 1718, and France from 1719-21. The map is embellished with several findings of natural history from his other travels abroad. At top is the large beak of an Egyptian Ibis. Below are two life-size drawings of stag beetles from Borneo in the East Indies. At bottom is the Least Humming Bird from Jamaica with its egg, also drawn life-size. Edwards' interest in natural history was boundless, and this wonderful map, with its curious combination of cartography and the natural world, is a rare and very attractive curiosity. This example is red line ruled.
References: Shirley (BI to 1750) Edwards 1.
There are two short tears at center that have been archivally repaired on verso along with a vertical misfold.