Rare French and Indian War-Era Map of the American Colonies.
Thomas Kitchin's rare double-page engraved map of the American colonies.
Kitchin's British Dominions in America is closely based on Mitchell's monumental map of the American colonies. It shows Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia stretching all the way to the Mississippi River. Pennsylvania extends north of Lake Erie.
The map pays particularly close attention to the Indian tribes of the interior, especially in the South and west of the Appalachian Mountains.
The present map was first prepared after the French and Indian War and was issued until the 1780s. This war-dated issue is rare.
The map is quite rare on the market. We note only 1 example in British or American Auctions in the past 20 years (Swann 1996, $6,440) and none appearing in dealer catalogs. OCLC locates only 1 example in an American Institutional Collection (Clements/ U of Michigan) and 2 in German Libraries. The Gilder-Lehrman collection shows a copy of the map.
The present map is not to be confused with the Kitchin map that appeared in Gutherie's Geography in the early 1780s; that map is more common.
Thomas Kitchin (1719–1784) was a British cartographer and engraver. Born in Southwark, England, Kitchin was the eldest of several children. He was apprenticed to the map engraver Emanuel Bowen from 1732 to 1739, and he married Bowen’s daughter, Sarah, in December 1739. By 1741 Kitchin was working independently and in 1746 he began taking on apprentices at his firm. His son Thomas Bowen Kitchin was apprenticed to him starting in 1754. By 1755 Kitchin was established in Holborn Hill, where his firm produced all kinds of engraving material, including portraits and caricatures. He married his second wife, Jane, in 1762. Beginning in 1773 Kitchin was referred to as Hydrographer to the King, a position his son also later held. He retired to St. Albans and continued making maps up to the end of his life.
A prolific engraver known for his technical facility, clean lettering, and impressive etched decoration, Kitchin produced several important works throughout his career. He produced John Elphinstone’s map of Scotland in 1746, and the first pocket atlas of Scotland, Geographia Scotiae, in 1748/1749. He co-published The Small English Atlas in 1749 with another of Bowen’s apprentices, Thomas Jefferys. He produced The Large English Atlas serially with Emanuel Bowen from 1749 to 1760. This latter was the most important county atlas since the Elizabethan era, and the first real attempt to cover the whole country at a large scale. In 1755 Kitchin engraved the important John Mitchell map of North America, which was used at the peace treaties of Paris and Versailles. In 1770 he produced the twelve-sheet road map England and Wales, and in 1769–70 he produced Bernhard Ratzer’s plans of New York. In 1783 he published The Traveller’s Guide through England and Wales.