Gorgeous map of Australasia, including New Holland (Van Diemen's land no longer attached), New Zealand (only 2 islands shown), New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji, the New Hebrides, etc. Without question, one of the best maps of the period, both in style and detail. A numer of early discoveries in Australia are noted. Highly detailed regional map, one of the best regional maps of the area to appear in an English Atlas during the period. Pinkerton's now rare elephant folio atlas is one of the best engraved works of the period. While lesser known than the more common atlases by Cary & Thomson, it is a superior work, especially in the detail of the maps. A bit of marginal soiling, else a nice example.
John Pinkerton (1758-1826) was Scottish literary critic, historian, poet, and geographer. From age twelve he educated himself at home in Edinburgh, as his father had declined to send him to university. His father instead apprenticed John to a lawyer, William Aytoun, but the boy did not like the legal profession. In his spare time, the young man wrote poetry and collected Scottish ballads, which he tried to have published. After the death of his father, Pinkerton moved to London in 1781, to be closer to the vibrant literary scene.
Pinkerton’s earliest publications were collections of ballads. However, a fellow critic uncovered that Pinkerton had forged several of the “ancient” poems and published accusations against Pinkerton in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Throughout the 1780s, Pinkerton published poetry, works on numismatics, and historical works. He corresponded with Sir Walter Scott, Horace Walpole, and Edward Gibbon, but most of his friendships ended in acrimony. Pinkerton was a hypochondriac, unorthodox about morality and religion, and a prickly personality who lived with several women during his lifetime, marrying illegally at least once.
After 1800, Pinkerton turned to geographical works. In 1802 he published Modern Geography, a text that was quite popular and translated into French and Italian. In 1808-15, he produced a New Modern Atlas, which was well received, followed by A General Collection of Voyages and Travels (1808-14). Soon after these projects, Pinkerton moved to Paris, where he lived until he died in 1826.