Mapping Empire and Exploration in America

Mapping Empire and Exploration in America, London Dealer Daniel Crouch Rare Books brings rare American maps to the International Art and Antique Dealer’s Fair, New York.

Daniel Crouch Rare Books will present Henry Popple’s Georgian ‘Map of the British Empire in America’ (1746) as well as a rare set of four manuscript maps of Texas (1829-30) by scientist Jean Louis Berlandier, at the 25th edition of the International Art and Antique Dealers Show, the seven day arts fair that opens on October 25 at The Park Avenue Armory, New York.

Henry Popple’s ‘A Map of the British Empire in America’ from 1746 is a striking depiction of the country, as well as a snapshot of history. Popple produced the map under the auspices of the Lord Commissioners of Trade and Plantations to help settle disputes arising from the rival expansion of English, Spanish and French colonies.

Popple’s map was also the first English map to name all the original thirteen colonies and one of the first maps to show Georgia. The new Colony of Georgia was chartered in London in July 1732, but developed only in early 1733, with the landing of James Edward Oglethorpe and his small party of 120 colonials. Oglethorpe returned to England in 1734 and met with the King on July 20, 1734, showing him “several charts and Curious Drawings relating to the new Settlement of Georgia”. The same charts and maps must have been almost immediately made available to Popple by Oglethorpe, as Popple immediately incorporated this new information into a corrective paste-down mounted on Sheet 10 in State 3 of the map. The new information regarding Georgia was then engraved onto the map in State 4 published in late 1734. [Babinski, note 12, 13]. The new Colony of Georgia was considered by the British as an attempt to create an important protective buffer between the more densely populated English Colonies in the north and the Spanish in Florida.

Popple’s map was intended among other things to provide a large format, up-to-date map of the region in order to better understand and demarcate the rival claims. The price for Henry Popple’s map is £160 000 or $250,000 US dollars.

The four manuscripts include the earlierst identified view of any Texan town- depicting Brazos Santiago, a port town eventually destroyed by hurricanes, and another that is a detailed map of the area surrounding Galveston Bay prior to any urban development, This provides a fascinating comparison to its current appearance next to Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, which was founded only seven years after the maps creation in March 1836.

These four ink-and-watercolor-wash manuscript maps on woven paper were printed by Jean Louis Berlandier, a geographer, historian, meteorologist and naturalist, who was one of the first scientists to explore northeastern Mexico and southeastern Texas, exploring the region for fifteen years. They are thought to have been produced during Berlandier’s exploration fo the region over a year and a half while his was working for the Mexican Comision de Limites’, as inscribed on three of the four maps. Yale University hold the largest known collection of Berlandier’s cartographical works, 85% of which are of the Texas area. Each of Crouch’s maps describe a separate section of the Texas coast, and together form a virtually contiguous mapping fo the coast from Galveston Bay to the mouth of the Rio Grande. The price for the set of four is £250 000, or $400 000 US dollars.

“It is extremely gratifying for us to present these rare historic documents to the American public,” says Daniel Crouch, proprietor of the eponymous Bury Street rare books gallery.

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