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Auction 14: Americana

Lots 34-36: Maps, from Grand to Pocket

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A Magnificent Map of Mexico City on a Grand Scale

34. [MAP: MEXICO CITY]. GARCÍA CONDE, Diego. Plano general de la Ciudad de México levantado por el Teniente Coronel de Dragones Don Diego García Conde en el año de 1793, y grabado en el año de 1807. De orden de la misma Nobilísima Ciudad. Oversize ornate cartouche at top, with drapery and architectural devices, medallions illustrating royal arms of Spain and Mexico City, text below. 2 vignettes at lower left: Vista I. De levante desde el camino nuevo de Vera-Cruz and Vista II. De Poniente desde el camino de Chapultepec; between the views is a legend enclosed within botanical border, with locations keyed to numbers. At lower right: Dn. Rafael Ximeno y Planes, Director Gral. de la Rl. Academia de Sn. Cárlos de esta capital de México, dibujó las vistas y adornos. D Manuel López pensionado que fue del grabado en la misma R. Academia y tambien, por esta N C lo estampo. Dn. Josef Joaquín Fabregat, Director del grabado en lámina de la misma Real Academia, lo grabo. Large table in eight columns at right with streets and other features keyed to numbers and letters. [Mexico, 1807]. Copper-engraved wall map on nine separate mounted sheets within restrained botanical border. Scale decorated with swags at lower right. 147.6 x 197.6 cm; 58 x 78 inches; approximately 4-1/2 x 6-1/2 feet. Scale: One inch = approximately 100 Spanish varas. The map has been professionally and sympathetically restored, deacidified, and mounted on fresh acid-free linen. Some wear and splits at junctures of the nine sheets neatly repaired (a few minor losses). A very good copy of a rare and important map, one of the finest ever made of Mexico City.

    First and only printing in large format (the plates for this map were destroyed and lost, but the map was republished in much smaller format in London in 1811, and again in New York in 1830). Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, El Territorio Mexicano II, p. 761 (illustrated). Lombardo, Atlas histórico de la ciudad de México, plate 144. Mathes, Illustration in Colonial Mexico: Woodcuts and Copper Engravings in New Spain, 1539-1821, Register 9989. Mayer, Poblaciones Mexicanos: Planos y panoramos siglos XVI al XIX, pp. 76-77 (illustrated). Museo Nacional de Historia Castillo de Chapultepec, Mapas y Planos de México Siglos XVI al XIX, p. 125. Palau 98695 (incorrectly ascribing the map to Pedro García Conde). Planos de la Ciudad de México 245. See Tooley, Dictionary of Mapmakers (2001 edition). Diego Garcia Conde’s Plano general de la Ciudad de México is the most spectacular of all maps of Mexico City, and it is probably the most important plan drawn of Mexico City in the nineteenth century, not only because of its size, but also for the excellence of the artists involved in drawing and engraving it. This grand plan became the source for many others, as it was copied and updated numerous times, though never again on this scale. The plan, conceived and created at one of the best moments in the history of Mexico City, is also one of the most unusual examples of Mexican printing–nothing of this size had ever been engraved in Mexico before.

    The original survey for this plan of Mexico City took place in 1793, during the viceregal administration of Conde de Revillagigedo. His administration, one of the most progressive of the colonial era, resulted in urban development and renewal–including construction and renovation of numerous public buildings and parks; improved sanitation, lighting, and security; construction of roads and streets; and establishment of professional schools (such as the Academy of San Carlos, where this map was produced).

    The creation of this grand map pooled the talents and skills of three of the most talented persons in Mexico at that time. The mapmaker was Diego García Conde (1760-1822), a native of Barcelona who came to Mexico and served as captain of the Spanish Dragoons in Mexico and fought the insurgents during the War of Independence. García Conde supervised several complex construction projects, including the road from Veracruz to Jalapa. In 1822 he was named director general of the Corps of Engineers and founded the Academy of Cadets. Dicc. Porrúa (p. 1156) specifically mentions the present map as one of his great achievements: “Su nombre está ligado a la historia de la cd. de México, por el magnífico plano que levantó de metrópoli in 1793.” Palau combines in one entry Diego García Conde and an entirely different mapmaker, Pedro García Conde (see Handbook of Texas Online for details on Pedro García Conde [1806-1851], commissioner of the Mexican Boundary Survey in 1848). The 2001 edition of Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers corrects its former entry on García Conde and mentions the present map.

     The engraver of the map was José Joaquín Fabregat (1748-1807), a native of Valencia. In 1787, the Spanish crown named Fabregat director of engraving at the Royal Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. Here Fabreget instituted the highest standards for printing and engraving, introducing the most advanced techniques from Europe. The recognition of engraving as an art and royal patronage led to unprecedented expansion of the arts outside of Madrid. Among those participating in this flourishing era of engraving was Rafael Jimeno y Planés (1759-1825), the Valencia artist who created the exquisite vignettes at the lower section of this map. Jimeno y Planés studied in Rome, Madrid, and Mexico (Academy of San Carlos). In 1798 he became director of painting at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico, and subsequently, director general. Jimeno created the engravings for the 1780 edition of Don Quijote, the famous engraving of the Plaza Mayor de México (adapted by Humboldt), grand murals, and fine oil paintings. An article on Jimeno y Planés appears in Dicc. Porrúa. For additional information on Fabreget, see Tooley, Dictionary of Mapmakers (1979 edition) and Dicc. Porrúa (p. 1046).
    Even hyperbole would fail to capture the magnificence and importance of this map, probably the most significant iconographic and technical production of all Mexican engraving up until its time, combining as it does the underlying superb and professional depictions of the city with the great skills of those who executed the engraving and printing. The map is a monument to cartography, surpassing even those maps produced in the elite centers of the art, such as London, Paris, and New York. The detail and accuracy of its depiction have rarely been surpassed even in modern times, and one need only compare it to the relatively minor version of the city printed in Chappe d’Auteroche’s narrative to realize the advance it represents.
($20,000-40,000)

35. [MAP: SOUTHERN UNITED STATES]. COLTON, G. W. & C. B. Colton. Coltons’ Rail Road and County Map of the Southern States Containing the Latest Information. Published by G. W. and C. B. Colton, 172 William St. New York. 1867. Lithographed map on bank note paper in full original color (rose, pink, green, pale blue, and maize) within vine and floral border. 81 x 65.5 cm (32 x 25-3/4 inches). 8 insets, from lower margin and winding up along right margin: Galveston and Vicinity Texas; Vicinity of the Rio Grande; New Orleans and Delta of the Mississippi Louisiana; Mobile Harbor Alabama; Entrance to Pensacola Bay; Wilmington and Vicinity N. Carolina; Beaufort and Vicinity N. Carolina; Charleston Harbor and Its Approaches S. Carolina. Folded into pocket covers: 16mo, original blind-stamped dark brown cloth (14.2 x 9.2 cm; 5-7/8 x 3-5/8 inches), gilt-lettered on upper cover: COLTON’S MAP OF THE SOUTHERN STATES, SHOWING THE COUNTIES & RAILROADS, CITIES, TOWNS, RAILROAD STATIONS, &C. G. W. & C. B. COLTON & CO.; printed broadside on front pastedown with publishers’ advertisement. Map with three clean splits at lower margin (no losses), folds at middle section split and reinforced with Japanese tissue. Pocket covers very fine. Overall a very fine copy with brilliant coloring.


    This map is one of the most detailed and large-scale (48 miles to the inch) treatments of the Southern states during the Reconstruction period. Its genesis was the series of handsome maps of the South that the Colton firm put out during the Civil War (1861 and other editions). This post–Civil War edition is important for transportation history because of its emphasis on railroad routes. The map embraces the entire South, but is especially valuable for its detail in Texas and Indian Territory, setting out railroad routes, geographical features, postal routes, location of Native American tribes, steamship routes, towns, settlements, explorers’ routes (such as Johnston and Whipple), traders’ posts, and forts.

The map also has occasional printed commentary such as that found in Taylor County, Texas (“healthy and very fertile rolling table lands”). Commentary in the lower Rio Grande Valley is “extensive grass plains, herds of wild horses and cattle.” Not in Modelski, Railroad Maps of the United States.
($750-1,500)

36. [MAP: SOUTHWEST U.S., MEXICO & CENTRAL AMERICA]. MITCHELL, S[amuel] Augustus. Map of Mexico, including Yucatan & Upper California, Exhibiting the Chief Cities and Towns, the Principal Travelling Routes &c. Philadelphia: Published by S. Augustus Mitchell N.E. Corner of Market and Seventh Sts. 1847 Entered according to the Act of Congress in the Year 1846 by S. Augustus Mitchell in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Lithographed map, original full coloring of Mexico and vivid rose outline coloring of Texas. 44.1 x 64.1 cm (17-1/4 x 25-1/4 inches). Inset street map and environs of Monterrey at top right on tinted pink ground: The Late Battlefield (15.3 x 19.4 cm; 6 x 7-5/8 inches). Folded into original covers: 16mo (13.6 x 8.2 cm; 5-1/8 x 3-1/4 inches), embossed purple roan covers, stamped in gilt on upper cover (MEXICO), front pastedown with printed statistical broadside: Extent and Population of Mexico. Other than very light browning at folds, a superb copy, as issued, with very strong coloring. Lower pastedown with small printed ticket “H.E.H. Dupl.” [Huntington duplicate].

    This is a very early issue of this oft-reworked Mexican-American War map. The earliest issue is thought to have the inset battle plan at the top uncolored (here it is on a pink ground), the inset at top identified only as The Late Battlefield (as in the present copy), fewer battlefields marked (Alamo, San Jacinto, Palo Alto, Resaca de Palma). The present copy has flags at the noted sites, and has added Buena Vista. This map was part of the series of popular maps published by Mitchell to provide constantly evolving news to satisfy the public’s riveted focus on the course of the Mexican-American War and “Manifest Destiny.” What began as a rather modest affair changed over the course of the war, with Mitchell revising his original map until it had grown far larger than this early issue. By 1847, Mitchell had added a large inset Map of the Principal Roads, but with the same title to the upper inset. In yet another version of the larger map, the inset at upper right is renamed The Battle Field of Monterey. For other versions of Mitchell’s map, see Streeter Sale 3868 & 3869; Taliaferro 284; and Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West 548; Maps of the California Gold Region 35. Here Texas is outlined in bright rose in the Emory configuration, with its overweening Panhandle extending north into Wyoming.
($5,000-10,000)


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