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An English Rarity

Rare separately issued English map of America, published in London by Robert Walton.  

This remarkable map was Robert Walton's attempt to copy the carte-a-figures style of maps first produced by Pieter Van Den Keere in 1614 and popularized by Willem Blaeu, Jodocus Hondius and Claes Jans. Visscher. As noted by Ronald Vere Tooley:

This is an extremely interesting and uncommon map being an intermediate state in the geographical conception of the West Coast, the only map I know to show this compromise solution in the controversy as to whether California was an island or a peninsula. California is shown as an island on the revised Sanson model but the coast is continued north-westwards in the old Mercator-Ortelius tradition. New Albion is shown on the mainland coast far to the north of the island, and the island itself is named California.

The decorative panels and figures on Walton's map closely follow those of the Van Den Keere's 1614 map.

Cartographically the map is generally based upon Van den Keere, as revised by Visscher in 1652, with a number of corrections which first appeared on Johannes Blaeu's Wall maps of 1645, 1646 and 1648.

Some of the recent cartographic updates include:

  • California is shown as an island, without compromising the fantastic Northwest Coast, carried over from earlier maps
  • The Virginia bulge is corrected
  • A relatively accurate Cape Cod depiction appears
  • One of the Great Lakes is shown
  • The St. Lawrence is greatly improved
  • Hudson's Bay, Davis Straits and the English Discoveries at the Arctic Circle are shown
  • Carolina and New Netherland are mentioned in smaller letters
  • Boston appears (above New England)

Despite these improvements, the mythical islands of Fristland and Brasile still appear in the North Atlantic.

Walton's map, unlike its Dutch counterparts, has a crude folk-art like quality, reflective of a period when English engravers were far less skilled than their Dutch counterparts.

States and Rarity

The map is exceedingly rare.  There are two states:

  • Dated 1658 in title
  • circa 1660: Date removed.
Condition Description
Minor discolorations at folds.
Burden, The Mapping of North America, #330, State 2; Tooley,
California as an Island, #25; Schilder, Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, Volume VI, pp. 426-427.