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Rare & Iconic "Most Accurate Map of North America" | Bowen & Gibson, publ. 1775

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Noted for publication July 2nd 1775, actually published 1776; four joined sheets framed under museum glass
Item # C104039

"An Accurate Map Of North America. Describing and distinguishing the British and Spanish Dominions on the great Continent; According to the Definitive Treaty Concluded at Paris 10th Feby. 1763. Also all the West India Islands Belonging to, and possessed by the Several European Princes and States. The whole laid down according to the latest and Most authentick Improvements, By Eman Bowen Gegr: to His Majesty and John Gibson Engraver. (with) A Particular Map of Baffin and Hudson's Bay. London. Printed for Robert Sayer No. 53 Fleet Street as the Act Directs 2d. July 1775."

This engraved four-sheet map was dissected and joined into a single map, professionally mounted and framed under museum glass. It was completed by cartographer Emanuel Bowen and engraver John Gibson. Bowen was widely acknowledged for his cartography skills and was the map-maker to George II of England and Louis XV in France. After his death, the business would be carried on by his son and apprentice, Thomas Bowen; despite the contemporary success of their work, both father and son would die in poverty.

One of the best large format maps of the Colonies drawn from a British perspective, it provided a contemporary account of the territories following the French & Indian War. Initially it was titled for the "British, Spanish and French Dominions", but editions after 1763 dropped the French instead read "British and Spanish Dominions..."

The accuracy of the Caribbean is notable, as well as his careful depiction of California not as an island but as a peninsula with the accompanying inset detailing "The passage by land to California" as reproduced from the Kino map; the map also includes an inset for "A particular map of Baffin and Hudson's Bay."

Very careful attention to detail throughout the map includes the various towns, rivers, smaller villages, lakes and other topographical details, as well as Indian tribes, forts, trading places and ports. The blank spaces include elaborate engravings, most notably in the title cartouche featuring two Native Americans surrounded by exotic animals. The Atlantic Ocean is filled with the various articles of the Paris Treaty, which settled the French & Indian War.

It remains a remarkably well-preserved piece, substantial in size and presence and a very fine overall presentation.

Measurements: 46 5/8" H x 51 3/4" W x 1 3/8" D [framed]; 40 3/4" H x 46 1/4" W [impression edges, not including margins]

Condition Report:
Professionally framed in the last decade or thereabouts, frame with light chipping and abrasion to the moldings and minor wear to the gilding. All four sheets have been professionally matched and mounted. Upper right sheet slightly offset from the left sheet and slightly more bright than the others. Lower right sheet very slightly more yellowed than the others. Right two sheets with creases 2 3/4" in from left edge and creases down the approximate center; two left sheets have creases down the approximate center. All sheets with trace smudging from handling, overall very minor. This includes more notable smudge to the border above Yucatan in Gulf of Mexico, scuff left of Baya Xagua in Cuba and some discolorations from handling at the margins. Light fading down the center where edges of pages would have rubbed each other. Overall light ripple to the paper as expected.