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The Mapping of North America

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One of 300 copies of Catherwood’s fine illustrations of ancient monuments in Central America. Frederick Catherwood (1799-1854) was an English artist, architect and explorer. He accompanied John Lloyd Stephens (1805-52) on two journeys through Meso America between 1839 and 1841. During the course of their travel they covered more than 3,000 miles and visited Honduras, Guatemala and the Yucatan (Mexico). They visited 44 archaeological sites and Catherwood selected the best of his drawings to be reproduced by lithography. Stephens had been inspired by the recent accounts of Antonio del Rio, Frederick de Waldeck and Guillaume Dupaix. He published his own accounts of his travels in 1841 and 1843; both accounts are illustrated with plates after Catherwood’s drawings.

‘It is only within the present century that the attention of European scholars has been drawn to the fact … that there yet mouldered within the Forests of Yucatan and Guatemala, architectural and sculptural remains of vast size and mysterious purpose, still displaying … a high degree of constructive skill, and attesting, in their ornaments and proportions, to the prevalence of an indigenous and well established system of design, varying from any known models in the old world. The truth of this statement, though at first received with incredulity, has been satisfactorily established by later researches; and I may appeal to the following Drawings for its confirmation. They illustrate some of the more striking objects which engaged my notice as an Artist, during two expeditions, undertaken expressly with a view of exploring the ruined cities of Central America, and preserving some memorials of their present state.’ (Catherwood writing in the Introduction to the present work).

Several lithographers were used for the plates including Thomas Shotter Boys (1 plate), George Moore (1 plate), John C. Bourne (2 plates), William Parrott (4 plates), Andrew Picken (10 plates) and Henry Warren (8 plates). Not in Abbey; see Tooley 133 for colour issue.

CATHERWOOD, Frederick

Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan

F. Catherwood. 9, Argyll Place, London, 1844
FIRST EDITION. Folio (520 x 360 mm), publisher’s green morocco-backed green moire cloth boards, gilt title to upper cover and spine, yellow glazed endpapers, joints repaired. Decorative chromolithograph title by Owen Jones, leaf with Catherwood’s dedication to John L. Stephens, outline map in red and black of ‘Central America and Yucatan’ showing Catherwood and Stephens’ route, Catherwood’s introduction, descriptions of the plates, pp. 24, and 26 tinted lithographs on 25 sheets by various lithographers after Catherwood, each with original tissue, one or two marginal nicks as expected.
Stock number: 9729

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