A Caribbean Rarity in Brilliant Original Color
Fine original color example of Phillip Lea's rare antique map of the British Possessions in the Caribbean, published in London in 1689.
The map includes detailed treatments of Bermuda, Antigua, St. Kitts, Barbados and Jamaica, along with an inset plan of "St. Michael or the Bridge Town" (Barbados) and "A chart of Port Royal ye Keys Soundings and Shoals &c." The top center map "A General Map of the Cariby Islands Distinguished Thus", provides an overview of the English, French, Dutch and Spanish possessions by numbered key.
The map is extremely rare. We note only one example at auction (Sothebys 1970) and one example of the later Wildey edition of the map offered in the John Russell Smith Bibliotheca Americana catalog (1865, lot #5898).
Philip Lea (fl. 1683-1700) was a central figure in the London map community at the end of the eighteenth century. He apprenticed under Robert Morden, with whom he later collaborated. Lea was made free of the Weavers Company in 1689. He was a publisher and a globe and instrument seller with ties to members of government. For example, Samuel Pepys lists him as his map advisor and colorist. He was not known primarily for his own original works, but for his reworking and reissuing of the work of others, particularly the county maps and world map of Christopher Saxton. He also acquired plates from John Seller, John Ogilby, and William Morgan, among others. Later in his career, he collaborated frequently with Herman Moll. After his death in 1700, Philip’s wife, Anne, carried on the business for several decades.