Full Original Color Example!
Striking full original color example of this monumental 4-sheet map of North America, issued during the negotiations for a final Treaty of Peace between the United States and England.
Originally issued separately by Bowen & Gibson in 1755, this influental wall map o North America was periodically updated following the conclusion of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. Beginning in 1775, the map was included in some of the most influential American Atlases of the era, including those issued by Jefferys, Faden and Sayer & Bennett.
Also beginning in the late 1770s, the map was updated to include surveys compiled by Governor George Pownall, including information from Evans' and other indigenous sources. Included on the map is an inset of Hudson's Bay and an inset based upon Fra. Eusebio Kino's explorations to the mouth of the Colorado River.
The map is packed with Indian placenames in the west, forts along the Mississippi and west of the Appalachians and full compliment of annotations on early roads, explorations and other geographically specific facts. The title cartouche has been strengthened from previous issues and features fine cross-hatching of the Indian figures and animals.
The title "United States" appears on the portion of North America allocated by the 1783 Treaty, while in the top right corner of the upper sheet is a four-line note about the coast of Labrador and Article III of the Treaty.
The map is known in at least 12 states between 1755 and 1798. The present example is Stevens & Tree 79(i), the first state to be completely updated following the cessation of active hostilities between the American and British Armies, but before the signing of a final peace treaty. This state of the map can be identified by the inclusion of the 1783 date in both the title cartouche and in the credit line at the bottom of the scale of miles (August 15, 1783).
While the map is not rare on the market, it is very unusual to see it in such fine original color.
Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) was a prominent London map publisher. Robert’s father was a lawyer, but his older brother married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop after his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in early 1748, it passed to Robert. Robert became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December.
Sayer benefited from Overton’s considerable stock, which included the plates of John Senex. In the 1750s, Sayer specialized in design books and topographical prints, as well as comic mezzotints. In 1753, he, along with John Roque, published a new edition of Thomas Read’s Small British Atlas, the first of several county atlases that Sayer would publish.
Sayer’s business continued to grow. In 1760 he moved further down Fleet Street to larger premises at 53 Fleet Street. In 1766, he acquired Thomas Jefferys’ stock when the latter went bankrupt. In 1774, he entered into a partnership with John Bennett, his former apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Jefferys. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade.
Bennett’s mental health declined, and the partnership ended in 1784. As Sayer aged, he relied on his employees Robert Laurie and James Whittle, who eventually succeeded him. He spent more and more time at his house in Richmond. In 1794, he died in Bath.
John Bennett (fl. 1760-d. 1787) was a London printer best known for his role in the successful partnership of Sayer & Bennett. In 1760, Bennett became a servant of Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794), the prominent print and map seller, and was apprenticed to him in 1765. In 1774, Bennett became a free journeyman and entered into a partnership with Sayer. They issued joint advertisements and publications. In 1777, Bennett owned 1/3 share in the business. The partnership was likely to continue fruitfully, but in 1781 Bennett began to show signs of mental illness. In 1783, he was admitted to an asylum for nine months and, in 1784, Sayer filed papers to dissolve their business partnership. Bennett died in 1787.