Texas Coast Shown on a Large Scale

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348. [MAP]. [OTTENS, Reinier & Josua]. Two untitled sheets from Ottens’ six-sheet map: Grand Théâtre de la Guerre en Amérique suivant les plus nouvelles observations des Espagnols, Anglois, François & Hollandois: [Sheet 4]: Gulf of Mexico showing entire Texas coast, and extending east to St. Joseph Bay in Florida, and south to Cozumel; neat line to neat line: 44.5 x 55.3 cm, overall sheet size, 53.2 x 46 cm; [Sheet 5]: Southern Mexico to south of Nicaragua; neat line to neat line: 41.3 x 56 cm, overall sheet size: 46.4 x 61.6 cm; two insets: Nouveau Plan du port et de la Ville d’Acapulco située dans la Nouvelle Espagne sur la Côte de la Mer du Zud [and] Plan de la Vera-Cruz Port du Mexique. [Amsterdam, 1740-1741]. 2 copper-engraved maps with original outline and wash color. Sheet 4 lightly browned, else fine. Sheet 5 very fine. It is very difficult to find all sheets together, and since some of the sheets are untitled (as here), likely they sifted through the sands of time unrecognized. Even Lowery was challenged to piece it all together.

     Ottens’ firm began selling the first sheets of Grand Théâtre de la Guerre en Amérique in October 1740. Customers purchased them as they came off the press, and the final sheets were available in June 1741. Added to that complexity is the fact that copies of Ottens’ atlas, which was always made up, vary as to the presence and number of these maps, since clients had to option of buying any number of them they wished. Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici, III, pp. 85-93: “The Ottens firm greatest fame comes from the voluminous atlases assembled to order.” Lowery 356 (Gulf of Mexico only; see also Lowery 257 & 427). Phillips Atlases 3495:117-118.

     The historical impetus for Ottens’ Grand Théâtre de la Guerre en Amérique mapwas the spillover from the war of Austrian secession and Jenkins’ Ear, which spread to the Caribbean as various national interests competed in that region. Sheet 4 shows the Gulf Coast of Mexico and the U.S. as far east as the Apalachicola River in Florida. This sheet is especially important for its depiction of Texas, a generally neglected region in cartography before the end of the century. Few maps of the period show the Texas coast on such a large scale, or in such detail. Jack Jackson in Flags along the Coast illustrates the Texas map (Plate 44), and characterizes the Ottens production as “magnificent” (p. 125). Jackson comments (p. 135) that Ottens copied the interior detail of the Texas map from Delisle’s 1718 map. The maps show major settlements, missions, roads, and areas of Native American habitation, fortifications for the harbors of Acapulco and Veracruz, ocean trade routes, and channels, as well as some historical notes.


Sold. Hammer: $3,000.00; Price Realized: $3,675.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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