Early State of Wyld's Large Map of China
Highly detailed map of China, published shortly after the conclusion of the First Opium War, reflecting Britain's new commercial interest in China.
An early state of James Wyld influential map of China, produced from 1840 to 1884. The present example is dated 1844, just 2 years after the First Opium War (1839-42) opened the Chinese Empire to the West and its commerce.
The map shows China as ruled during the Qing Dynasty. The details are the product of years of western attempts through traders, missionaries and spies to obtain good information on the interior of China. China is divided into its traditional provinces, extending north to the Great Wall of China.
Korea seems to be shown as part of China, due to a British misunderstanding of East Asian politics, as while Korea was a tributary state of China, it was nan independent nation. Because the British had virtually no contact with Korea, it was assumed that it was part of China.
China also does not include, Xinjiang and Tibet, which had not yet been conquered by the Qing Emperor.
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.”