Catalog Archive
Auction 187, Lot 681


"[Lot of 2] The Pacific Ocean [and] Polynesia or Islands in the Pacific Ocean", SDUK Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Subject: Pacific Ocean

Period: 1840 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

15.8 x 12.3 inches
40.1 x 31.2 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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 pair of maps is focused on the Pacific. The first shows the entire ocean from the coastline of the Americas to Asia and Australia. The second depicts the islands in the Pacific through an elaborate set of inset maps with excellent detail. Both enclosed in keyboard style borders. Engraved by J. & C. Walker.


Condition: B+

Contemporary outline color on lightly toned sheets with a few minor spots in map images. The Pacific Ocean map has a couple small, unobtrusive abrasions at left.

Estimate: $120 - $150

Sold for: $65

Closed on 4/27/2022