Peter Maverick’s Very Rare Pocket Map Version of García Conde’s Mexico City

A Superb Copy in Original Full Color

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

298. [MAP]. GARCÍA CONDE, Diego. Plano general de la Ciudad de Mexico. Levantado por el Teniente Coronel Don Diego Garcia Conde en el año de 1793. Aumentado y corregido en lo mas notable por el Teniente Coronel retirado, Don Rafael Maria Calvo en el de 1830; [below & right of title] Engraved by Peter Maverick New York; [upper right, untitled table with extensive text, setting out the eight quarters of the city, locating plazas, hospitals, colleges, parishes, churches, convents, prisons, military and law enforcement quarters, and landmarks such as the Coliseum] Cuartel 1...; [lower left above neat line] R.M. Calvo dibujo; [lower right above neat line] I.P. Rubio lo escribió. [note at lower center above neat line explaining coloration] Nota Los colores intermedios de las calles denotan los cuarteles mayores y la variacion de cada uno de ellos los menores, estos ban marcados pr. su orden, desde el no. 1 al 32 los cuales corresponden á los 8 mayores. New York, 1830. Copper-engraved map of Mexico City and environs, on banknote paper, original full color; neat line to neat line: 47.7 x 53.2 cm; overall sheet size: 48.2 x 53.5 cm; folded into original bright red leather pocket covers (13 x 7.6 cm), gilt-ruled and lettered on upper cover: Plano General de la Ciudad de Mexico, recent yellow endpapers. Pocket covers slightly scratched and with a few spots, otherwise exceptionally fine condition with outstanding coloring, strong full color with many differentiations of blocks and sections. Very rare, especially in the original pocket covers. This U.S. edition is rarer than the original immense version of 1807.

     First U.S. edition. For the first printing of this map, see herein. The original survey for this map of Mexico City took place in 1793, during the viceregal administration of Conde de Revillagigedo (1789-1794). The plates for the first printing (1807, in mammoth format) were lost, but the map was republished in smaller format in London in 1811, and again in this 1830 New York version. Nothing can compare with the grand format of the first edition graced with the handsome engravings by Fabregat, but this augmented and corrected pocket-map version by New York engraver Peter Maverick has a charm and beauty all its own, with a high aesthetic and excellent technique. Carrera Stampa 256. Lombardo, Atlas histórico de la ciudad de México, plate 152. Orozco y Berra, Materiales para una cartografía Mexicana, p. 262. Orozco y Berra, Memoria para el Plano de México, p. 11 (XXXI). Palau 98697. Not in Phillips, Maps of America. Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, Vol. III, p. 225. Rafael María Calvo, who corrected and augmented the map, was a retired adjutant of the Regiment of Infantry of the Spanish Royal Engineers. Many of his maps, plans, and drawings of fortifications are described in Carmen Manso Porto’s Cartografía Histórica de América: Catálogo de Manuscritos, Siglos XVIII-XIX (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 1997).

     It is appropriate that the first United States edition of one of the greatest maps ever created in Mexico should have been re-engraved and published by the technically brilliant engraver and artist, Peter Maverick (1780-1831), a pioneer in his field and one of the most prominent engravers of his time. From the latter part of the eighteenth century through the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the name of Maverick frequently comes up in connection with engravings, etchings, and lithography—in book illustrations, bookplates, maps, certificates, portraits, trade cards, town views, etc., created in the United States. Maverick was a member of the family of engravers whose firm was located in New York City and Newark, New Jersey. He was the most important Maverick in the field of graphic arts, and among his better-known works are an engraving of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the ground plans for the establishment of the University of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson, penmanship books, which required great skill, and many others.

     The founder of the Maverick firm was Peter Rushton Maverick, also known as “Maverick the First” (1755-1811), the father of Peter Maverick, who engraved the present map. Maverick the First began his career as a silversmith and went on to engrave portraits and bookplates. See Walter Hamilton’s Dated Book-Plates (Ex libris), with a Treatise on their Origin and Development, London: A & C Black, 1895. The younger Maverick must have learned the art of engraving at his father’s knee. His earliest documented signed engraved work was created at the tender age of nine years (frontispiece of Adam and Eve in the Garden, and perhaps other engravings for the 1790 illustrated edition of The Holy Bible Abridged). Sinclair Hamilton remarks: “Perhaps this infant prodigy did all the cuts in the book, for they are crude enough in all conscience” (p. xxxi in Vol. I of Early American Book Illustrators; see also entry 133). The younger Maverick went on to engrave all types of images, including the most challenging genre of all, banknotes, the extraordinary skill of which is reflected in the present map.

     Mantle Fielding (p. 595) provides some details on the engraver of the present map, stating that noted American artist Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) apprenticed, and eventually partnered, with Maverick. Regrettably, that relationship soured, to put it mildly, when Durand accepted an independent commission to engrave Trumbull’s celebrated painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence without telling Maverick. Maverick returned to New York in 1817, where he conducted his family’s large graphic arts establishment as a general engraver, etcher, and copper-plate printer, eventually branching into lithography (see Peters, American on Stone, pp. 273-275). Maverick ever was on the edge of the latest technology such as producing lithographs regularly within six years of the initiation of the art in the U.S. He also invented a special machine for engraving scroll work more easily on copper.

     Maverick the Younger was one of the founders of the National Academy of Design, and in 1826, that organization described him as excelling in “letter engraving and bank-note work.” We do not find the present map in the catalogue raisonné of all known works engraved by members of the Maverick family; see Stephen DeWitt Stephens, The Mavericks: American Engravers (Rutgers University Press, 1950) & Documentation Corrections & Additions to the Mavericks: American Engravers (Rutgers University Press, 1964). We do not know why Maverick created this map of Mexico City, although we do know that he did quite a bit of work for Latin American countries, such as engraving currency for Colombia. It appears that this remarkable tour de force of cartographic art and technique in the United States in the 1830s is little known, and certainly scarce. Institutional holdings are rare, and we trace only two other copies of the map selling during the past fifty years. High Ridge had a copy in similar condition to ours and in pocket folders in 2004 ($9,500); Morton sold a copy in 2010 for 62,100 Mexican pesos (without pocket covers and coloring not as full or fine).

     This is the Mexico City that Stephen F. Austin knew in 1833 and 1834, when he was imprisoned and remained in close confinement for several months, excluded from the use of books or writing materials, or even the light of day, while being shuffled from prison to prison without trial.


Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: