We received several antique maps at the Old Print Gallery yesterday, all of which make great additions to our inventory. Included in this group of new (to us) maps was a rare, separately published, English-produced map of the Americas by John Overton.
John Overton (1640-1713) worked first as an apprentice to Thomas Gould in the “Stationers’ Company” for eight years, before buying a print shop from Peter Stent in London. His shop, as noted on all his published material, was located at the sign for “White Horse neere the Fountaine Tavern Without Newgate“. Overton inherited and quickly accumulated a considerable print stock, but found his inventory of maps lacking. He worked to fill this void by re-publishing maps of influential cartographers of the previous generation, notably acquiring the set of Speed plates from Christopher Browne in 1713.Overton primarily derived this map of America from his chief English rivals, Robert Walton, Thomas Jenner and as noted in the title, Nicolaes Visscher. He used Walton’s (Burden #330) map for the decorative borders and large inset map of the polar regions, Jenner’s (Burden #393) for the cartography, and van den Keere’s for the border illustrations, which depict natives, explorers, and city views. This is the second state of the map, issued c.1671. It is in good condition, save for tight lower margin. The hand coloring is modern.
The map, a copper plate engraving, has many interesting details. It depicts California as an island, with the following explanation: “This California was in times past thought to beene a part of thy Continent and so made in all maps but by further discoveries was found to be an Iland, long 1700 legues” . Hudson’s Bay is noted as being very shallow: “In this Hudsons Bay hath been observed by divers that at highwater did not arise about 2 foot.” Although New Jersey is listed, New York is curiously omitted from East Coast place names, despite being under British rule. The map is also beautifully decorated with ships and sea monsters in the water and grazing, leaping animals in the Midwest. An inset map of the polar circle- including the Strait of Anian– sits in the lower left corner of the map.
This is a fantastic new map to be added to our OPG collection. We invite our blog readers to stop by our Georgetown gallery to see it in person.