Map of North America.
- London, not before 1634.
- Physical Description:
- 1 map : pen and ink and watercolor, on parchment ; 21.9 x 42.8 cm, on sheet 23.5 x 45.8 cm
- Rare Books and ManuscriptsOctavo Room \ Map of North AmericaYale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon FundAccessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
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- Copyright Status:
- Public Domain
- Maps & Atlases (manuscript)
- Relief shown pictorially.
Inscribed on the reverse: "This vellam and paper I brought with me out of England (as I remember) about 16 years past, the vellam decayes through the moisture of this place." Presumably, "this place" refers to a location in North America.
Manuscript map of North America, drawn by a member of the Thames School of chartmakers, probably in the late 1630s. It may have been prepared in conjunction with a plan to establish a permanent colony in "Carolana," the name the English used for the region south of Virginia prior to 1663. Perhaps the most striking feature of the map is its depiction of "a branch of the South Sea, not yet discovered." This large body of water spans well across the continent, to just west of the Appalachian Mountains. As such, it promised access to American ports that would enable trade with China and the Far East.
The map is undated, but details of its features suggest a creation date in the late 1630s. The appearance of "Maryland" dates the map to no earlier than 1634. The map also employs the label "New Netherland," which suggests 1664 (the year the English captured the territory) as the latest possible date. Philip Burden posits that details of the map -- such as the description appended to Port Royal, "An excellent harbor" -- imply that it was prepared expressly for a party involved in the 1649 proposal by Lord Maltravers (Henry Frederick Howard, 15th Earl of Arundel) to establish a permanent colony in North Carolina ("Carolana"). Burden suggests that the map's purpose was twofold: to show the site of the proposed "Carolana" on the Roanoke and Chowan Rivers; and to show the presumed accessibility of the colony to the great "South Sea" beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Burden also suggests a connection to John Ferrar and his notable printed map of Virginia (see item 47 in Cumming's The Southeast in early maps, 1998). The famous Ferrar map also depicts a narrow North America with easy access to "the Sea of China and the Indies."
Burden believes that the map's calligraphy was the work of two distinct hands, probably by a major chartmaker of the Thames School with the aid of an apprentice. He suggests that the cartographer may be Nicolas Comberford, the most significant maker of charts of North America during this period.
- Subject Terms:
- Arundel, Henry Frederick Howard, Earl of, 1608-1652.British -- America -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.Comberford, Nicholas, -1673.Ferrar, John, 1590?-1657. Mapp of Virginia discovered to ye hills.North America -- Maps -- Early works to 1800.
Manuscript map of North America, late 1630s. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund.
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