Catalog Archive
Auction 176, Lot 610

"Asia", Jefferys, Thomas

Subject: Asia

Period: 1750 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

8.9 x 7 inches
22.6 x 17.8 cm
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Thomas Jefferys was one of the most important English map publishers of the 18th century. His work included prints and maps of locations around the world, but his most notable maps are of North America and the West Indies. He began his career in the map trade in the early 1730s, working as an engraver for a variety of London publishers, and eventually setting up his own shop. In 1746, he was appointed Geographer to the Prince of Wales, and in 1760 he became Geographer to the King. These titles granted access to manuscripts and cartographic information held by the government. In the early 1760s he embarked on an ambitious project to produce a series of English county maps based on new surveys, but ran out of money and filed for bankruptcy in 1766. He then partnered with London publisher Robert Sayer, who reissued many of Jefferys plates and continued to issue new editions after Jefferys' death in 1771. Jefferys' American Atlas and the accompanying West-India Atlas, published post posthumously, are considered his most important cartographic works.

This small map of Asia shows the extent of knowledge that is typical for this time period, and extends all the way to London to give British readers a perspective on how far various Asian countries are. In the North Pacific Ocean, there is an ambiguous landmass in the area of Alaska that is labeled "Land which is seen from Bering I." Hokkaido is not shown, but there is a partially delineated island with the notation "The inhabitants of these Isles are named Jeso by the Japanese." In Australia, here named New Holland, the Cape York Peninsula is much too broad. The map is adorned with a decorative cartouche.


Condition: B+

Issued folding, with light soiling and minor toning.

Estimate: $110 - $140

Sold for: $80

Closed on 2/12/2020