Map of the World on Mercator Projection.
ENSIGN & THAYER
Size: 33" X 46.5"
Condition: Good. Map is unrestored on its original linen. Loose from rollers, but can be reattached. A few minor tears on top where the map was originally attached to the roller. Crackling of old varnish throughout.
An attractive and rare wall map depicting the world view of the mid 19th Century that was originally created by the publishing company of Phelps and Ensign in 1841 and updated henceforth either by the firms of T. & E.H. Ensign or Ensign and Thayer.
The map is adorned with 91 flags that are associated with different communities and countries as well as those commonly found on Man of War and/or Merchant ships. The wall map also includes four insets at the corners representing the flora, fauna and inhabitants of the continents of Europe, America, Africa and Asia.
Furthermore, the publishers have added notations throughout the map that help ascertain the bearing and distance from one place to another, and indicates the size and population of the the different continents, including that of Australia.
It is important to mention that notations relating to the different exploration epochs beginning with Christopher Columbus’ first voyage in 1492 and including those of John and Sebastian Cabot , Vasco de Gama, Magellan, Sir Francis Drake, Commodore Anson, Captain James Cook, Captain Jean de la Perouse, Captain George Vancouver and the United States Exploring Squadron, as well as delineating the navigational routes of different explorers in the South Sea as well as the Arctic, underlines the general public’s interest in the mid 19th Century with these past discoveries. The popularity and success of this map when published and its recurring re-issue is a testament to the strong public demand at the time .
As mentioned, this version of the map also shows the routes traveled in the South Pacific and in the Atlantic oceans of by the likes of Captain Cooks and Captain Furneaux 1773 as well as those of Cook’s first and last voyages in 1763 and 1777, respectfully. The publishers also show the routes associated with Captain Weddell in 1823,,Captain A. Bristol in 1806, Captain John Ross and William Parry in 1818, Captain John Biscoe in 1831, La Perouse in 1786, and Vancouver in 1795, Captain J.S. Boulton in 1833, Commodore Wilkes in 1839, and finally those of the Antarctic expeditions of Captain J.C. Ross and Commander Crozier in 1841. Although the Arctic expeditions routes are not extensively shown, a notation is added near Greenland that lists different Arctic expeditions starting with Captain John Ross in Lieut. W.E. Parry in 1818, Captain Parry in 1819, and in 1821, Captain Franklin in 1819 and his second ill fated expedition in 1825 and ultimately those of Captain Ross in 1829.
Historical information is further depicted throughout the different geographic regions that provide the viewer with interesting tidbits such as “no fresh water is to be found in the coast” of Western Africa or the notation between Mendocino and Sacramento, California, that indicates the Gold the Region, a clear reference to the Gold Rush of 1848 which occurred shortly prior to the publishing of the current example of this map.
Ensign and Thayer’s wall map thus serves as a reminder of the geo-political changes that have occurred over the centuries since its publishing, for example, Russian America is now Alaska, but also helps demonstrates the preoccupation that the general public had with the ongoing explorations and discovery that continued to alter their world view in the mid 19th Century. As such, this map, beyond it’s aesthetic beauty, is a reminder that our world view is never static.