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Striking 4-sheet map of North America on the eve of the American Revolution.

The map is one of the best large format representations of the British Colonies, from a British perspective, on the eve of the Revolution. The claims of the Carolinas, Virginia and Pennsylvania extend to the Mississippi, following the defeat of the French and the Treaty of Paris in 1763. A massive Louisiana appears West of the Mississippi, and Spain dominates Texas and Upper California. A large inset shows a full size reproduction of the seminal Kino map, which proved California not to be an island. There is also a large inset of Baffin's and Hudson's Bay. The elaborate cartouche is without doubt one of the most decorative cartouches to appear on an 18th Century map of America.

The extensive annotations in the Atlantic Ocean set forth the various articles of the Paris Treaty, which settled the French & Indian War--which Seymour Schwartz notes to be the bloodiest conflict on American soil during the 18th Century. Excellent detail throughout the map, including Indian Tribes, towns, forts, rivers, villages, mountains, lakes, trading places, portages and a host of other important early colonial information. Fourth state of the map, pre-dated only by the rare separately issued editions by Bowen & Gibson in 1755 and 1763 and Robert Sayer in 1772, which rarely appear on the market.

The 4 sheets are joined in two larger sheets, as issued. We will join the 2 sheets to form 1 large map, if requested.

Condition Description
4 sheet map, joined into 2 sheets
Tooley 49(d).
Robert Sayer Biography

Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) was a prominent London map publisher. Robert’s father was a lawyer, but his older brother married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop after his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in early 1748, it passed to Robert. Robert became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December.

Sayer benefited from Overton’s considerable stock, which included the plates of John Senex. In the 1750s, Sayer specialized in design books and topographical prints, as well as comic mezzotints. In 1753, he, along with John Roque, published a new edition of Thomas Read’s Small British Atlas, the first of several county atlases that Sayer would publish.  

Sayer’s business continued to grow. In 1760 he moved further down Fleet Street to larger premises at 53 Fleet Street. In 1766, he acquired Thomas Jefferys’ stock when the latter went bankrupt. In 1774, he entered into a partnership with John Bennett, his former apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Jefferys. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade.

Bennett’s mental health declined, and the partnership ended in 1784. As Sayer aged, he relied on his employees Robert Laurie and James Whittle, who eventually succeeded him. He spent more and more time at his house in Richmond. In 1794, he died in Bath.