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Nice example of this Revolutionary War era map of the British Colonies in North America, one of the earliest printed maps engraved by John Cary.

A finely engraved map based on the larger map by Didier Robert de Vaugondy (McCorkle 755.37). This Revolutionary War era map was produced between the time of Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown in 1781 and the signing of the preliminary peace articles in Paris at the end of November 1782. The Treaty of Paris and Treaties of Versailles were signed on September 3, 1783, with the last troops departing New York in November.

The map is filled with detail of early settlements, Indian villages, and topography. The colonies extend to the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, with North Carolina shown in an unusual, skinny configuration. The top left of the map is filled with the inset "Supplement to Carolina", which extends the map through South Carolina and part of Georgia on the same scale. With an oval title cartouche at lower right in the Atlantic.

The map would appear in several ephemeral late 18th Century British publications, all of which are quite scarce on the market.

John Cary Biography

John Cary (1755-1835) was a British cartographer and publisher best known for his clean engraving and distinct style which influenced the entire map industry. Born in Wiltshire, John was apprenticed to an engraver in London. He started his own business by 1782 and moved to several premises before settling at 86 St James’s Street in 1820.

Cary had several significant collaborations during his career. John Wallis and Cary diversified Cary’s business to include broader publishing projects. Brother William and John made globes together, while brother Francis participated in the company’s engraving work. Finally, geologist William Smith and Cary developed and sold geological maps, some of the first of their kind. The pair also produced a notable series of county maps starting in 1819. Cary’s atlases, of English counties and the world, were the standard texts of the early nineteenth century. He was appointed surveyor of roads to the General Post Office in 1794, which led to the New Itinerary, first published in 1798.  

John trained his son, George, in engraving and George and his other son, John Jr., took over the business in 1821. It was then known as G. and J. Cary and continued in trade until 1850. The firm’s materials were then acquired by George Frederick Cruchley and then Gall and Inglis. By the time John died in 1835, Cary was the authoritative name in private map publishing and his business was a leader in the field throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.