Extremely rare London edition of Charles Wilkes' map of Oregon Territory, one of the most important maps of the Northwest after the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Charles Wilkes was the commander of the Wilkes Expedition, from 1838 to 1842. Wilkes carried out a survey of the Columbia River aboard The Porpoise from July to November 1841. The inset of the Columbia River survey on this map was taken from that expedition. It represented a tremendous advance in the mapping of the region.
Wheat refers to the map as in many respects the most detailed of this extensive area yet published, and for the main Oregon region and the Hudson's Bay Company territories in the north it was…a quite extraordinary map. Wilkes sent a party up the Columbia and another south to California. He drew upon the information provided in recent maps by Hood, Arrowsmith and Parker, as well as manuscript information from Jedidiah Smith and the Hudson Bay fur traders. The result is the most important and accurate map of the period and a map of tremedous importance in the history of the cartography of the region.
The Wyld edition is of the utmost rarity. This is the second example of the map we have ever seen for sale.
James Wyld Sr. (1790-1836) was a British cartographer and one of Europe’s leading mapmakers. He made many contributions to cartography, including the introduction of lithography into map printing in 1812.
William Faden, another celebrated cartographer, passed down his mapmaking business to Wyld in 1823. The quality and quantity of Faden’s maps, combined with Wyld’s considerable skill, brought Wyld great prestige.
Wyld was named geographer to His Majesty George IV and William IV, as well as HRH the Duke of York. In 1825, he was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was one of the founding members of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830. Also in 1830, his son, James Wyld Jr., took over his publishing house. Wyld Sr. died of overwork on October 14, 1836.
James Wyld Jr. (1812-87) was a renowned cartographer in his own right and he successfully carried on his father’s business. He gained the title of Geographer to the Queen and H.R.H. Prince Albert. Punch (1850) described him in humorous cartographic terms, “If Mr. Wyld’s brain should be ever discovered (we will be bound he has a Map of it inside his hat), we should like to have a peep at it, for we have a suspicion that the two hemispheres must be printed, varnished, and glazed, exactly like a pair of globes.”