Catalog Archive
Auction 190, Lot 661


"Polynesia, or Islands in the Pacific Ocean", Tallis, John

Subject: Pacific Islands

Period: 1850 (circa)

Publication: Illustrated Atlas and Modern History of the World

Color: Hand Color

14.1 x 9.9 inches
35.8 x 25.1 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

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 very detailed map covers Oceania from the east coast of Australia to California. Scores of islands, among them the Society, Friendly, New Hebrides, Caroline, and Sandwich archipelagos are located, including hundreds of tiny islands and shoals. A delicately engraved border surrounds the area and the four vignettes: Kalakakooa, Sandwich Islands, Otaheite, Harbour of Dory, New Guinea, and Resolution Bay, Marguesas. The Baja Peninsula is called Old California here. The map was drawn and engraved by J. Rapkin; the illustrations were drawn by H. Winkles and engraved by T. Wrightson.


Condition: B+

A nice impression with light toning and soiling. Trimmed at top by the bookbinder, with a bit of loss of the border above the title.

Estimate: $100 - $130

Sold for: $80

Closed on 11/16/2022