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Wyld, James

Map of North America Exhibiting The recent Discoveries, Geographical and Nautical; Drawn Chiefly from the Authorities...

Fine example of the circa 1850 (our dating) edition of Wyld's massive map of North America, which includes the extra panel at the bottom, adding Central America, first issued in 1824.


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  • J. Wyld , London
  • 1850
  • Copper engraving / Original color.
  • Antique Map, map
  • 1850
  • James Wyld's wall map of North America
  • 1820 by 1640mm (71¾ by 64½ inches).
  • Provinence: from a royal collection in Bavaria
  • 25574
  • Dissected and laid on linen. In a custom slip case. Dimensions: ca. 71 x 64 inches.

Article description

Article description

Copper engraving, hand colored in wash and outline, when published. John Wyld was one of the most prolific publishers of separately issued maps during the 19th Century. His 6 (and later 7) sheet map of North America is a testament to Wyld's publishing acumen. First published in 1823, the map was periodically updated to incorporate new discoveries. However, Wyld had the curious habit of frequently leaving older information on the map, making for a very curious mix of geographical details. The evolution of Wyld's map of North America is truly fascinating, and reflects Wyld's commercial savy. The map was periodically updated in the 1820 and 1830s. With the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, Wyld issued a special 4-sheet edition of the map (eliminating the top 2 sheets and the bottom central America sheet), with a new title (Mexico the British Possessions in North America and the United States . . . 1846), which included a number of geographical revisions in the regions depicted and focused on the battlegrounds of the Mexican American War. Following the resolution of the Mexican-American War, Wyld re-issued his map of North America, showing the boundaries as established by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and with significant updates in the polar region, Alaska and northern Canada. In 1849, with the discovery of Gold In California, Wyld again saw commercial opportunity. Wyld again issued a section of his 7-sheet map of North America, under the title The United States Of North America With Part of the British Possessions And Mexico . . . 1849 . For this map, Wyld completely re-worked California and incorporated for the first time the information from John Fremont's seminal map of Oregon and Upper California. The following year, Wyld would again release a revised edition of his 7 sheet map of North America, retaining the changes made in the US Gold Rush map of 1849, but with additional updates in both the US and again in the northern sections of the larger North America map which had not been offered as part of the US Gold Rush map of 1849. While we have not attempted a complete cataloguing of all of the later editions, we note that Wyld issued editions of his map of North America in 1860 and again in 1875. We suspect, although we have not made the analysis, that some of the Civil War maps issued by Wyld during the early 1860s are probably again fragments of his larger map of North America. This undated edition, which we have dated 1850 because of its relationship to the1846 4-sheet map of Mexico . . . , the 1848 edition of the 7-sheet map (which we have dated 1848 because of the differences in the map which place it chronologically between the 1846 map and the 1849 US Gold Rush Map) and the 1849 US Gold Rush Map, has been significantly updated from these 3 maps. Among the more noteworthy additions are as follows: North West Sheet: Significant new River System in northern Alaska, which reaches into Canada and an extension of the northernmost river feeding into Norton Sound. Significant new River System in northwestern Canada, west of the MacKenzie River. which incorporates one river that had been floating without an eastern or western terminus or source on earlier editions. North East Sheet: A massive new bay has been added below Cumberland near Davis Strait. The coastline at the north end of the Hudson Strait has been completed. Central West Sheet: No significant changes Central East Sheet: Many new towns and roads in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. South West Sheet: Ft. Mormon appears. Utah Lake added. New Salt Lake added east of Timpanagos. Mormon settlements shown for the first time. Weber River System shown in Utah. Old S. Buenaventura R. removed in north. New Springs are shown south of Lake Timpanagos. Rio Sacto and tributaries are added. Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt River System are added. Owens Lake and River are added. Walker River appears. Details east of the San Joaquin River are added and updated and drainage from the Sierras is improved. Rio S. Felipe is removed. Los Angeles is named for the first time. Mission San Miguel is added. Major revisions to the road systems. Long's Peak, south of St. Vrain's is added. Several updates in the Colorado Mountains, including South Park and Bayou Salada. Directionality and location of Mexico-California boundary is changed, with the border moved farther south of San Diego (Many of these changes appeared in the 1849 US Gold Rush Map and are incorporations of Fremont's map). South East Sheet: Western border of Missouri moved 1 degree west to its correct location. Rumsey notes: The first edition, listed in Phillips but not by Stevens and Tree or Wheat [was published in 1823] . . . A large impressive map showing with great accuracy the recent discoveries in the north west passage, but wildly off in the American southwest - Wheat: "a large and beautiful map, excellent in all respects save for its southwestern geography." In the southwest, Wyld adds many mountain ranges that were purely speculative - probably just to fill in blank spaces in the map (unlike Arrowsmith). In northwestern Texas is a curious note on the topography of the area attributed to "Mellish" which is copied from a pre-1822 edition of his large map of the United States. Comparing this edition to the derived map of 1846, "Mexico, the British Possessions...," ; one sees many changes in the northern areas and few in the southwest. Stevens and Tree list editions of 1824, 1827/8, 1838, and 1851/56. In addition to the editions listed by Rumsey, we note edtions identified by OCLC as havng been published in 1854, in the 1860 and "1870s." The Rumsey collection also includes an 1875 edition of the map. In December 2000, Sotheby's offered a map which would appear to be a Faden edition of this map, dated 1820 and described as follows: North America-Faden, W. Map of North America from 20 degrees to 80 degrees north latitude exhibiting the recent discoveries, geographical and nautical. London: Willam Faden, 1820 Total dimensions if joined 1480 x 1650mm., large engraved wall-map in 6 sheets, original outline colour . . . Extremely detailed map of North America, incorporating the discoveries of explorers such as Pike, Humboldt, Lewis and Clark, Mackenzie, Ross and Vancouver. Within Arctic Canada are pencil additions, supplying a northern coast for Alaska and additional information for the region between Baffin's Bay and Hudson's Bay, the latter additions in German. Full Title: Map of North America Exhibiting The recent Discoveries, Geographical and Nautical; Drawn Chiefly from the Authorities of M. De. Humboldt, Lieutt. Pike, Messrs. Lewis and Clarke, Sir. Alexandr. MacKenzie, Mr. Hearne, Coll. Bouchette, Captns, Vancouver, Ross, Parry, Franklin & Back, also describing the Boundary Lines between the Territories of Great Britain, the United States, and the Mexican and Central States -- London Published for Ja. Wyld, successor to W. Faden. No. 5 Charring Cross. Geographer to His Majesty. Condition Description: North America: 7 sheets, dissected and laid on linen, in custom slip case.

Fine example of the circa 1850 (our dating) edition of Wyld's massive map of North America, which includes the extra panel at the bottom, adding Central America, first issued in 1824.

Provinence: from a royal collection in Bavaria

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