Near flawless example of Prince Frederik, Duke of York's copy of George Willdey's extremely rare edition of Philip Lea's rare map of the British Colonies (Jamaica, Port Royal, Florida, Caribbean and The English Empire in America). The map was part of a collection which was sold in 1827 by Sothebys.
As noted by Burden, the map was first advertised in the Term Catalogues for Trinity Term 1685, published in June 1685. It is not referred to in Lea's1685 catalogue, but appears in the catalogue of 1687. The map is divided into three parts, the lower part being a detailed map of the island of Jamaica, naming all the plantation owners. It bears an inset lower left entitled A New Draught of Port Royal by Anthony Williams. The upper part of the map shows the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern portion of North America. A large B. Sp of Santo represents the mouth of the Mississippi River, Florida includes a similarly named river on the west coast, and S Augustine on the eastern shore.
The final two maps extend to the Carolinas, with the ports of Charles Towne and Port Royall noted. A large inset map in the upper right is entitled The English Empire and extends the coverage of the map northwards through New England, centered on the Chespeake. This map provides an accurate depiction of the British Colonies along the Eastern Coast of North America as it stood in the mid 1680s. The new colony of Pennsylvania is shown, as is the capital city, misspelled Philidolphia.
The four vessels plying the waters offshore indicate the level of trading activity. There was one unusual publication from this plate. In 1694 Thornton, Morden and Lea collaborated on the extremely rare Hydrographia Gallia, a small book of pocket maps of the coasts of France. Lea followed this on his own with the Hydrographia Universalis, c.1696. This was a little work of the harbors and coasts of the world although with a strong emphasis on England and France. Lea masked this plate to print the little inset of the English Empire and include it in the work. Only four examples have been located: British Library, National Maritime Museum and two at the Library of Congress.
Philip Lea published a second very similar map of Jamaica most probably in the late 1690s, where the upper section of the map is replaced with images of the West Indies. Old centerfold split has been repaired on the verso, with minor remnants of soiling along the centerfold. Centerfold reinforced on verso. A few marginal tears, just reaching the printed image, but in all a very attractive example of this extremely rare and imporant map. Not in Cumming or McCorckle. There are only 4 known copies of the complete Philip Lea Atlas.
The present example includes the bookplate of the Duke of York. The map was apparently acquired by the Duke of York and bound into a large composite atlas, as noted by the number below the Duke of York's Bookplate found on the upper left verso of the map (illustrated), bearing the motto of the Chivalric English Order of the Garter, "Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense" and the initials D.Y., along with "Vol. 62, No. 14." The map therefore reveals a both a remarkable provenance and provides a glimpse into the often asked question of how separately issued maps manage to survive in such fine condition when they were not originally bound into an atlas or book.
The Wildey edition of Lea's map was unrecorded until 1986, when an example was located in a copy of a Willdey Atlas was sold at Sothebys and only a few examples have since been located.The Lea Map has appeared in dealer catalogues only 2 times in the past 25 years (Arkway Catalog 58 (2004) $6,500 and Shapero, Pilots of the Caribbean (2007) $9000) . Only 1 example of the Wildey edition has appeared in the past 25 years (1987--Arkway Catalog, $1900).
It should be noted that while Philip Burden listes the map as issued by Willdey circa 1715, Ashley Baynton-Williams has provided compelling evidence that this conclusion is in correct. Mr. Baynton-Williams notes that the sale of Anne Lea's stock (widow of Philip) was announced in 'Daily Journal' of August 5th 1730, as to be held on the 14th. Willdey first advertised his re-issuance of the Lea maps in an advertisement in the 'Daily Post' for February 3rd 1732.
Mr. Baynton Williams adds to the intrigue of this map, noting that Prince Ernest Augustus of the House of Hanover (born in Osnabruk in 1674) was the Duke of York from 1716 to 1728. The next Duke of York, Prince Edward of the House of Hanover (born in Norfolk House in 1739) was the Duke of York from 1760 to 1767. The most logical explanation is that the book was bound up in the life time of Prince Edward, from maps in the possession of his family or acquired prior to his becoming Duke of York.