With Excellent Maps of the Australian and California Gold Districts
Rare guidebook to the gold regions of California, Russia and most notably, Australia. The present example is styled the second edition on the title page. Thomas Streeter's copy, purportedly an example of the first edition, was issued with only four maps. However, Gary Kurutz describes the first edition of this title as having the full complement of five maps, as in the present second edition, while not describing the four-map edition owned by Streeter. Wyld had issued an earlier separate work focusing on California in 1849: Geographical & Mineralogical Notes to Accompany Mr. Wyld's Map of the Gold Regions of California.
Although the present title focuses on the gold regions of Australia, the California content is notable, and the author seems intent on comparing the two regions by juxtaposing them in a single volume. The California section of the text mentions an 1825 gold discovery near San Diego "at St. Isidore," as well as Marshall's famous discovery, the Ave Maria mine on Col. Fremont's estate, and other early California mining ventures. According to Gary Kurutz:
Wyld wrote in a tone in keeping with the ambition of imperialistic Victorian England, extolling British possibilities for the gold of California and the entire world... The author provided comparisons... between California and Australia - Kurutz.
The present work includes five maps, which are:
- The World On Mercator's Projection, Shewing The Distribution of Gold . . .
- Gold Districts of Australia (all of Eastern Australia)
- Map of the Gold Regions of Australia . . . (Bathurst to Sidney and Newcastle)
- Map of the Gold Regions of Australia . . . (Victoria and New South Wales)
- The Gold District of California.
The California map is very similar to Wyld's rare separately published Map of the Gold Regions of California (1851), but focusing more particularly on California, with less of the surrounding areas as a whole.
According to Thomas Streeter (whose copy was issued with only 4 maps):
The interest of this pamphlet lies in the attention paid to quartz mining for gold in California. This was scarcely mentioned in the Wyld 1849 pamphlet. Various gold bearing quartz veins are shown on the California map, which still shows the “Mountain of Pure Sulphur” of the 1849 Wyld map.---TWS.
The work is very rare. The Streeter copy (with only 4 maps) sold for $400 in 1968. This is the second iteration of the work, with one additional map (Victoria and New South Wales). There was also a third edition, issued in 1853.
James Wyld Sr. (1790-1836) was a British cartographer and one of Europe’s leading mapmakers. He made many contributions to cartography, including the introduction of lithography into map printing in 1812.
William Faden, another celebrated cartographer, passed down his mapmaking business to Wyld in 1823. The quality and quantity of Faden’s maps, combined with Wyld’s considerable skill, brought Wyld great prestige.
Wyld was named geographer to Kings George IV and William IV, as well as HRH the Duke of York. In 1825, he was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was one of the founding members of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830. Also in 1830, his son, James Wyld Jr., took over his publishing house. Wyld Sr. died of overwork on October 14, 1836.
James Wyld Jr. (1812-87) was a renowned cartographer in his own right and he successfully carried on his father’s business. He gained the title of Geographer to the Queen and H.R.H. Prince Albert. Punch (1850) described him in humorous cartographic terms, “If Mr. Wyld’s brain should be ever discovered (we will be bound he has a Map of it inside his hat), we should like to have a peep at it, for we have a suspicion that the two hemispheres must be printed, varnished, and glazed, exactly like a pair of globes.”