Catalog Archive
Auction 189, Lot 104

"British America", Tallis, John

Subject: Canada

Period: 1850 (circa)

Publication: Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World

Color: Hand Color

13 x 10.2 inches
33 x 25.9 cm
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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 decorative map is surrounded in a delicately engraved border and further embellished with six vignettes. The area mapped extends to show all of today's Canada and Alaska, here called Russian America. In Canada, at least 23 districts are outlined. This edition includes a bird's-eye view of Montreal, a seal, whale fishing, Eskimos (here called Esquimaux), polar bears, and a nautical scene showing the ships Fury and Hecla, which made expeditions to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage under William Edward Parry. The illustrations are by H. Warren and engraved by Robert Wallis; the map is drawn and engraved by J. Rapkin.


Condition: B+

A nice impression with contemporary outline color. There is minor soiling and a hint of toning along the centerfold.

Estimate: $200 - $230

Sold for: $400

Closed on 9/14/2022