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2008 Catalog > 1. Senex, North America, Corrected

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1. John Senex. “North America Corrected from the Observations Communicated to the Royal Society at London and the Royal Academy at Paris by John Senex F.R.S. 1710” (London: John Senex, 1710). First edition, second issue. Copperplate engraving on two sheets joined, with fine original outline hand color. 37 1/2 x 25 1/2" at neat line with full margins. Sheet size: 39 x 26 1/2". Large, impressive title cartouche at u. l. with allegorical figures and symbols of the New World. Below, a coat of arms likely belonging to Anthony Hammon, to whom the map is dedicated. Expert restoration at centerfold; two small sections remargined. Overall fine condition for this very rare map.

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Probably separately issued, Senex’s beautiful and very scarce map of North America also appeared in his atlas Modern Geography and is one of the earliest large-scale English maps of the continent. It represents a British attempt to consolidate new information about the region and borrows data from such recently published sources as Delisle’s landmark Carte du Mexique et de la Floride, especially for the lower portion of the map. To this information Senex contributed a fine depiction of the Great Lakes region and the most accurate definition of the lower Mississippi River and its delta by an English cartographer of the period. He also extended the map’s coverage to the far reaches of Canada’s Northwest Territories and the Terra Incognita above Baffin’s Bay.

Throughout the map Senex presents known areas in great detail, but leaves less-known areas almost undefined. Fascinating annotations account for such deficiencies (e.g., “The Long River or Dead River was discovered lately by the Baron Lahontan as far as is mark’d in the Map . . . unless the Baron Lahotan has invented these things.”). Present-day Oklahoma and Texas are part of “La Floride,” considered at the time to be a possession of the French. The Red River and the Indian villages of East Texas are portrayed accurately, but Senex, following Delisle, incorrectly placed many Texas rivers, in addition to depicting some strange and unrecognizable names. Interestingly, Senex only selectively translated French place names into English.

An exceptional product of its era, the map has a spare, clean, carto-scientific style indicative of that for which Senex was known. A magnificent, important, and scarce map of early-eighteenth-century America.

Refs.: Lowery Collection, no. 273; Phillips, Atlases, 550; Stevens and Tree, “Comparative Cartography,” no. 61b, in Tooley, Mapping of America, p. 91; Wagner, Mapping the Northwest Coast, no. 495; Wheat, Transmississippi West, vol. I, no. 92.

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