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“The finest general atlas produced in the U.S.” in the early 19th-century,with 98 large and detailed hand-coloured maps

LUCAS, Fielding, junior.
A general atlas containing distinct maps of all the known countries in the world.Baltimore, Fielding Lucas junior, 1823. Small 1mo (39.5 x 31 cm). With an engraved title-page with an allegorical vignette, a letterpress table of contents, a hand-coloured frontispiece view, the same view in outline and uncoloured, a letterpress table giving heights of the mountains and other features in the facing view, an engraved and partly hand-coloured schematic image of rivers of the world, and 98 hand-coloured maps including 13 double-page. Contemporary gold- and blind-tooled red sheepskin.
€ 18,000
An extremely detailed, accurate and beautiful American world atlas, with all the maps exquisitely coloured for the publisher. It includes maps of the world (Mercator projection), the western and eastern hemispheres, the five continents and the West Indies, and is especially important for the American maps (59 of the total 98), which include a separate map of each of the 24 states in the United States at the time of publication, further maps of the U.S. territories, 20 maps of the West Indies, including a separate map of every major island, and 5 maps of South American countries. Most of the maps (including nearly all of the American ones) were drawn by Lucas himself and include much material taken from new government surveys. Each map includes a grid of parallels and meridians, nearly all include scales and sometimes also a compass rose. An anonymous contemporary reviewer (North American review), after praising the unusually detailed and accurate maps, wrote further, "We have seldom seen so good a set of maps of the West Indies", the maps of South America "present a more full view of the present topographical state of those countries, ..., than is anywhere else to be found ...", and praised the entire work for "the uncommon beauty and elegance of the mechanical execution" and "exquisite beauty of coloring", concluding, "no maps have come under our eye, either from abroad or ... in this country, which can claim precedence ..." "if we were to select a single atlas, in which our purpose would be to obtain the greatest amount of matter within the smallest space, ... we should not hesitate to choose this in preference to any we have seen". This praise has withstood the test of time, David Rumsey calling this atlas, "the finest general atlas produced in the U.S. at that time", "The quality of the engraving ... is superb, the detail is very fine, and the coloring is delicate and elegant". Although especially valuable for its American maps, it has been largely overlooked in Americana reference works because of its status as a world atlas. It also includes seven maps of the ancient world (Rome, Greece, Palestine, Egypt).With 2 maps showing significant foxing, but otherwise in very good condition, most maps fine, with the colours still fresh and bright and only faint offsetting in some of the double-page maps. A magnificent American atlas with 98 beautiful, detailed and accurate hand-coloured maps, more than half covering the Americas.
North American review XVIII, pp. 382, 388-390 (April 1824); Phillips & Le Gear 742; Sabin 42610 note; David Rumsey 4584.
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Related Subjects:

Americas  >  Drawings, Prints & Watercolours | North America & Mexico | South America
Cartography & exploration  >  Americas | Atlases, Charts, Maps & Globes | Drawings & Manuscripts