Chart of the Northern Passage between Asia and America
Author: Thomson, John
Publisher: New General Atlas
Date published: 1830Chart. Copper engraving with original full hand colouring. Overall sheet size: 65.4cms x 53.7 cms. Image size: 592mm x 495mm. Centrefold as published. This is a map of the NW Passage, the NW Coast of America and NE Coast of Asia. The map tracks Cook's progress beyond the Bering Straits on with the days dated i.e. Oct 31st see him leaving the coast of Oonalaska in 1778 and 1779. In the Arctic Sea there is a note regarding McKenzie's having : Seen the Sea on July 10, 1789 along with a note concerning the establishment of a post at Whale Island. The watercourse from Slave Lake to the Arctic Sea is shown, along with descriptions such as: Strong Bow Indians and Mountains with bright Stones; Beaver Indians ; Rock with encampment on it. Commodore Beering's tracks northwards are also shown. Cook's Tracks from 1778 are prolific. At the top of the map is the statement: The further progress of the Ships Northward was rendered impossible by Ice extending from Continent to Continent. This is considered to be one of the best early 19th Century maps of the region. Two creases to left hand side running the entire lenth of the map with a little greynessin the bottom pablank - see magnified image- little greyness top right blank also ; one patch of thinness to right of compass points but not visible unless held up to the light; two repaired marginal tears bottom margin now viertually invisible. Overall good and nicer than this sounds. John Thomson was one of the leading exponents of the Edinburgh school of cartography which reached its zenith between 1800 and 1830. Thomson & his contemporaries such as Pinkerton and Cary redefined European cartography by abandoning such 18th century decorative elements as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favour of detail and accuracy. Thomson's principle works include the Thomson's New General Atlas published from 1814 though 1827 (from which this map originates) and his Atlas of Scotland. The Atlas of Scotland, a work of groundbreaking detail and dedication would eventually bankrupt the Thomson firm in 1830. His maps are prized today for the quality of their detail, their size and the attractiveness of the original colouring.