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The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
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OVERTON, John

A New and Accurat Map of the World

London, 1670
390 x 515 mm., fine early outline colour, two indistinguishable wormholes repaired lower centrefold, otherwise in excellent condition.
AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE ENGLISH WORLD MAP. Shirley described this map under a separate entry in his ‘Mapping of the World’. It is in fact a later state of Peter Stent’s world map first published in 1663. A close comparison of the two reveals this link. At first glance we see that all of the decorative features surrounding the hemispheres have been replaced with the exception of the four portraits of circumnavigators. Some of the decoration is drawn from Stent’s earlier world map of 1657. Central polar celestial hemispheres are introduced with different neighbouring images of the four elements. These are flanked by twelve images of costumed figures from various nations. The last feature are images of the four seasons. The date above is altered to 1670 and the imprint below adjusted accordingly. The map itself appears unaltered from that by Stent. One of the most notable features is the presence of the tracks of the four circumnavigators illustrated.

Peter Stent (1613?-65) was born about 1613 at Binsted, near Alton in Hampshire. He was apprenticed to Elizabeth Lowe, a copper plate printer, in 1627. A widow, a husband George Lowe had been the printer of John Smith’s map of New England. He was made free by the Merchant Taylor’s company in 1637. In 1645 he was left £106 by his father and he began buying old copper plates from which he could print stock. His shop was just outside London at Newgate from about 1642, until his death from the plague on 29 September 1665. He was England’s first printseller with a large and diverse stock of material.

Stent’s estate passed to his widow Susanna. The stock and business passed shortly afterwards to John Overton (1640-1713). He was born in London, the son of Thomas Overton, a tailor in Covent Garden. He is believed to have been related to the bookseller Henry Overton. He set up shop around 1665 in Stent’s premises before moving after the Great Fire. The map is presumably listed in his catalogues of 1667, 1669 and 1672 although not clearly identified. Examples of this state are recorded in the British Library (BL Maps C.39.e.3) as part of a collection of maps. The New York State Library also possess an example bound into Robert Fage’s ‘Cosmographie’, 1671.

Provenance: Sotheby’s 22.6.89 lot 265; private English collection. Baynton-Williams, Ashley (2006); Globe (1985) 378; Schilder (2000) p. 424 App. Map 5; Shirley ‘World’ 430 & 456; Shirley (2004) T.Ove 2a no. 1; Tyacke (1978) pp. 130-4; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 9616

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