Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

A fascinating map of one of the great periods of arctic exploration. The early 1800s saw renewed efforts in exploring arctic Canada, the main purpose for which was to identify a possible sea route through to the Pacific Ocean, the so-called northwest passage. The routes of the three main figures of this time are recorded: Sir John Ross (1777-1856), Sir William Edward Parry (1790-1855), and Sir John Franklin (1786-1847).

The map was included in the ‘General Atlas’ which appears to have been first printed in 1819 with 41 maps. The map was first included when expanded to 44 maps. The atlas is undated but given Wyld’s reputation for such maps it was likely issued circa 1823. Ross’s first voyage is identified and coloured by the names of the vessels, ‘Hecla’ and ‘Griper’. The decision to return home was derided by Parry who returned himself shortly after having learnt from the previous voyage.

The final expedition recorded is the overland Coppermine Expedition led by Sir John Franklin (1819-22). It is coloured in yellow, here correctly originating from the York Factory on Hudson Bay. Many examples incorrectly start from Severn House further southeast. Its intent was to follow the Coppermine River northwest to the north coast of Canada. Out of his party of 20 men, he famously lost 11 to starvation or exhaustion. Franklin himself fell into the river at one point and was carried downstream 100 metres before being rescued. There are even rumours of a murder and cannibalism.

Several of the Hudson Bay Company posts are recorded. The map includes five vignettes of coastal views of Baffin Bay, Burnet’s Inlet, the Coppermine River, and Scoresby’s Sound. Alaska at the time was a Russian possession There are three known states of the map. The first bears unshaded coastlines and can be difficult to read. This preferred second state bears shaded coastlines. A third state exists with title dates extended ‘From 1818-27’. Much new additional information is added to it.

James Wyld (1790-1836) quickly gained a reputation for excellence regarding maps of regions being explored. Wyld was an apprentice to William Faden and became Geographer to His Majesty George IV and later William IV. He was a founder member of the Royal Geographic Society. He introduced lithography into mapmaking in 1812. His death in 1836 was said to be due to ‘overwork’, the business being continued by his son James Wyld (1812-87) who joined the family firm in 1830. He became a Liberal MP for Bodmin from 1847-52 and 1857-68. Hayes (2003); Smith (1991); Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

WYLD, James

Discoveries of Capts. Ross, Parry, & Franklin. in the Arctic Regions in 1818. 1819. 1820. 1821. & 1822.

John Thomson & Co., Edinburgh, c.1825
310 x 445 mm., early outline colour, some light offsetting, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 10946
£ 495
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