California as an Island

“First English map to depict all five of the Great Lakes”—Burden

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368. [MAP]. SANSON D’ABBEVILLE, Nicolas (after). BLOME, Richard. [Elaborate title cartouche within ornate botanical border with three cherubs and drapery] A New Mapp of America Septentrionale Designed by Mousieur Sanson Geographer to the French King, and Rendred into English, and Illustrated by Richard Blome By His Majesties Especiall Command. London, Printed for Richard Blome[1669 date scrubbed off] [upper right, dedication with coat of arms and crown, bull, and dog with banner beneath] To the Rt. Honble. Anthony Earle of Shaftesbury Baron Ashley of Wimbourne St. Giles, and Lord Cooper of Pawlet. This Mapp is most humbly D.D. by R.B. [lower left above neat line] Francis Lamb Sculpt. London, [1682 per Burden]. Copper-engraved map of North America with the northwest part blank and California shown as an island (includes Southwest, Mexico, Central America, Atlantic Coast, Great Lakes, and Caribbean islands), later color (outline, shading, cartouche, decorative elements, border); location of settlements, lakes, shoals, and some topographical details, richly embellished with animals, sea monsters, sailing ships, a lone kayaker in “Baffins-Bay”; neat line to neat line: 38 x 54 cm; overall sheet size: 42 x 57 cm. Light browning to blank margins, right blank margin supplied, skillfully restored with a few repairs on verso, overall very good.

     One of the most striking depictions of California as an island, based on Sanson’s 1650 landmark map Amérique Septentrionale, with revisions and updates. Blome chose to use the best source, and even credited Sanson, a rarity then (and now). The map was published in Blome’s edition of Bernhard Varenius Cosmography and Geography (London, 1682). According to JCB, the second part of that work was by Richard Blome (A Geographical Description of the World), which has a special title page with imprint date 1680 (DNB states Blome’s work was from the notes and work of Sanson). Baer, Maryland 101. Burden, The Mapping of North America 397 (State 4, after a conjectured proof state dated 1668 and the 1669 state; the fourth state has eight family lines and the Virginia-Carolina border is moved northwards above Albemarle). Kaufman, Mapping of the Great Lakes 6. Leighley, California as an Island 55. McCorkle, New England in Early Printed Maps 669.1. McLaughlin, The Mapping of California as an Island 42 (State 2, dedicated to the “Rt. Honble. Anthony Earle of Shaftesbury Baron Ashley of Wimbourne St. Giles, and Lord Cooper of Pawlet”; coat of arms bears eight family lines): “This is an unchanged reissue of Sanson’s 1650 ‘Amerique Septentrionale’ as regards California, except a tiny vignette of a deer appears in the north of the island.” Tooley, “California as an Island” in Mapping of America, p. 119 (#27). Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 400n.

     Burden 397:

Blome was a prolific publisher of cartographic and heraldic material in the second half of the seventeenth century. He made particular use of the subscription method to finance his productions. By paying in advance a subscriber was rewarded by his coat of arms being placed within the work.... The map of North America is derived from that of Nicolas Sanson 1650, which is stated in the title. It is the first English map to depict all five of the Great Lakes and introduces some advances over the earlier one.

Blome’s map has one of the early references to “New Yorke.” There are other interesting additions relating to Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Texas is shown as part of Florida, Mexico, and the New Mexico area. The map is scattered with various animals, including buffalo, iguana, stag or deer, sea monsters, and fish. Appropriately, the four-legged icon chosen to represent the Texas-New Mexico area is a cow. DNB rather sniffs at Blome, stating: “Blome (d. 1705) “was a publisher and compiler of some celebrity, who by the aid of subscriptions adroitly levied issued many splendid works. Originally he was a ruler of paper, and afterwards a kind of arms painter. Wood says he practiced for divers years progging tricks, in employing necessitous persons to write in several arts and to get contributions of noblemen to promote the work. Wood likewise remarks: ‘This person Bloome is esteemed by the chiefest heralds as a most impudent person, and the late industrious Garter (Sir W. Dugdale) hath told me that he gets a livelihood by bold practices.’” DNB goes on to list a lengthy list of Blome’s impressive publications.


Sold. Hammer: $1,400.00; Price Realized: $1,715.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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