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The Mapping of North America

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BLOME, Richard

L'Amerique Angloise, ou description des isles terres du roi D'Angleterre, dans L'Amerique

Chez Abraham Wolfgang, pres la Bourse, Amsterdam, 1688
Duodecimo (150 x 85 mm.), full contemporary calf, blind panelled, with ribbed spine, very ornate gilt decoration to compartments, gilt title, gilt slightly worn. With typographic title page, pp. [4], 331, [1], p. 236 erroneously numbered 136, with 7 folding maps, otherwise in excellent condition.
WITH A PREVIOUSLY UNRECORDED FIRST STATE OF THE MAP OF NEW ENGLAND. Richard Blome (1635-1705) was the son of Jacob Bloome a member of the Stationers’ Company. Although his family name is written in contemporary documents as Bloome he himself used Blome. He was made free of the Stationers’ Company in August 1660 at the time of the Restoration of Charles II. According to Skelton he began as a ruler of paper and a heraldic painter, both features which are seen in his later works. His earliest known work is a geographical treatise published in 1663. From 1667 the first of a series of maps of the world was engraved for ‘A Geographical Description of the Four Parts of the World’ published in 1670.

In 1672 he published ‘A Description of the Island of Jamaica’ which included some significant maps relating to North America. This is Abraham Wolfgang’s translation of Richard Blome’s popular The Present State of His Majesties Isles and Territories in America, published in London 1687, which included different maps by Robert Morden. For the work Wolfgang had seven maps engraved, curiously four are derived from the Robert Morden maps found in the 1687 Blome. These include maps of New England and Canada, Barbados and Bermuda.

The Morden plate of Carolina ‘was first published in 1680, but here it is drawn from the second state of 1687 as published within the English edition of Blome. It is identical in all matters to the earlier map, including all the Lederer cartography, with one exception. Hilton Head is engraved as Hilson Head, reflecting the engraver being misled by the ‘t’ of the earlier map’ (Burden).

The map of New England is a unique composition derived from the original Blome of 1672. ‘It bears no direct resemblance to either the Blome of 1672, or the Morden which appeared in the Blome edition of 1687. The inland waterways and Cape Cod in particular, are very disparate. New York is shown at the tip of a peninsula rather than being on an island, and the Hudson River bears an abrupt bend upriver’ (Burden). It is noted that in most examples Manhattan is shown correctly with a river separating Manhattan from the mainland. Here however the east river cuts only slightly to the west and is not noted in Burden.

The map entitled ‘Pensylvanie’ is in fact centred on the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia. ‘This detailed small map keys twenty-nine features to an Explication lower right; the majority are counties. Like that of New England, this map is not derived from any clear source. An unusually slim New Jersey is depicted and the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania is placed too far north, just south of Philadelphia. The Delaware peninsula is leaning eastwards slightly and is broader at its neck than accepted at the time’ (Burden). It is an example of the first state, first identified in Burden.

The final map is in fact bound first in the work and is derived from Blome’s 1672 map. ‘This map chiefly describes Jamaica, but like its predecessors it bears a large inset map of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the south-eastern portion of North America’ (Burden). The text describes the English colonies in North America and the Caribbean. Provenance: Reiss 13.10.93 lot 2467; Burden collection. Baer (1949) no. 126; Burden (2007) nos. 638-42; Cumming & De Vorsey (1998) no. 108; McCorkle (2001) no. 688.4; Sabin 5969.
Stock number: 9894
$ 4,950
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