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The Mapping of North America

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OLIVER, John

A Mapp of the Cityes of London & Westminster & Burrough of Southwark with their Suburbs as it is now Rebuilt since the late dreadfull Fire

John Seller and John Hill, London, c.1676
445 x 590 mm., with some loss of engraved area upper and lower right and lower left, trimmed close to the engraved border, the double folds are generally in good condition with some light reinforcement on the verso only, otherwise okay for an extremely rare map.
ONLY THREE RECORDED EXAMPLES. Following the destruction of much of London by the Great Fire of 1666 several surveyors were appointed to map the ruins in 1668. One of these was John Oliver (1616?-1701) described by Worms and Baynton-Williams as a ‘Builder, architect, glass-painter, mapmaker, surveyor, printseller and engraver’. His earliest recorded works were for John Seller in 1675. He married Susanna Speed a grand daughter of John Speed. He was described once by Robert Hooke as ‘a rascal, a villain, a dog and a devil’. He does however mention him on several occasions and helped him in the production of this map. The date given for the original publication of this plan is derived from the list of known address of John Seller as published by Tyacke. In 1676 Seller was using Hills’ shop which it seems would provide a more accurate date than that given by Darlington and Howgego. As Campbell states in the Douwma catalogue this ‘places it in the same year as Ogilby and Morgan’s, considered to be the first of the reconstruction plans’. About Seller we know quite a lot, however of John Hills little is known. His brief period of cartographic activity is almost entirely in partnership with John Seller and occurred in the late 1670s. In 1676 they published the extremely rare ‘A Mapp of New England’ and in 1679 they issued Proposals for an ‘Atlas Anglicanus’ which never came to fruition.

The plan extends from St. James’s Park and Westminster in the west to Stepney in the east. This is one of the earliest of these reconstruction plans. The river is still only crossed by the one bridge down river from which the Thames is crowded with vessels plying their trade highlighting the trading nature of the city. There are three numbered keys to places of note, that upper left is flanked by two figures carrying the Mace and a sword, upper right the arms of the City bear the legend ‘Insignia Londini’. A further smaller key is placed in Southwark. The ornate cartouche upper centre illustrates the acquired wealth, trading and knowledge of the city. Darlington & Howgego identify three states of the map, this is an example of the first with the imprints of Seller and Hill. Examples are recorded in the Guildhall Library and in what is believed to be the ‘mock-up’ of Seller’s ‘Atlas Anglicanus’ at the British Library. The location of that sold by Douwma in the 1980s is unknown. Provenance: private English collection since c.1985. Darlington & Howgego 31 state 1; Douwma catalogue 23 no. 21; Shirley (2004) T.Sell 6a no. 4; Tyacke (1978) p. 139; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 8176
£ 7,500
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