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

This two-sheet map by Nicolaas Visscher II (1649-1702) is difficult to date. The map bears Pennsylvania indicating a publication date at the earliest of c.1685 and it is not listed in his catalogue of 1682. For the ‘Mapping of North America’ I could not identify any example of the ‘Atlas Minor’ that contains this map that can be dated by internal evidence to earlier than 1696. Maps are known with the imprint of Visscher’s widow Elizabeth Verseyl, indicating that this work was most probably issued before his death in 1702. Its larger format, its styling and advanced cartography led me to believe that it was produced late in his life, hence the suggested date of c.1696.

The two sheets can be found separately, in which case each sheet is slightly wider at 465 mm. A guideline can be found on the right- and left-hand sides respectively inside the margin up to which the other sheet is affixed. They were clearly engraved in such a manner that allowed both unification as a two-sheet map and individual usage, as can be shown by the graduation being on all four borders.

“The map does not appear to be derived from any one source and is certainly quite accurate in the region of the Gulf of St Lawrence. There seems to be greater access to English and Dutch material as opposed to that of French. The inland portions of Canada are quite inaccurate, but the coastal regions show some thought. The main areas of distortion are just north of Boston where the coast makes a large swing to the eastward. The Delaware Bay bears a distinctive southern shoreline, one which would be duplicated later by Johann Baptiste Homann.” (Burden).

This is an example of the second state, following what may well be a proof in which countless mountains and trees are omitted. Burden (1996-2007) 731; Kershaw (1993-98) nos. 319-21; Koeman (1967-70) III pp. 150-155 & 179 no. 93; Lemon (1987) p. 54; McCorkle (2001) no. 689.8; Morrison, Papenfuse, Bramucci & Janson-La Palme (1983) fig. 28; O’Dea (1971) p. 38 & fig. 36; Phillips (1909-) 3478 nos. 125-6.

VISSCHER, Nicolaas Jansz.

Nova Tabula Geographica

Amsterdam, c.1696
595 x 900 mm. Early outline colour. Two sheets joined. A little minor dirt along the centre fold, otherwise a fine fresh example.
Stock number: 6779


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