Was this Washington’s Yorktown Map? — At This Price One Hopes So

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 9, 2010

In the March digital edition of Fine Books & Collections, Ian McKay reports on some auction highlights, including this map from the Revolutionary War, which sold for $1.15 million.

Manuscript Plan of the Battle of Yorktown, auctioned by James Julia of Fairfield, Maine

What was to become the most expensive American map ever sold at auction was entered for sale without reserve and initially given a wide-open estimate of just $5,000 to $50,000 in this Maine sale. Showing the disposition of the besieged British troops and the combined American and French forces at Yorktown, it was executed on or around October 29, 1781, ten days after the final, unconditional surrender by the British commander, Lord Cornwallis, to George Washington. The drawing up of the map was overseen if not directly accomplished by Lieutenant Colonel Jean Baptiste Gouvion, who in 1777 had been one of a group of French military engineers transferred to the American forces following a direct request from the Continental Congress. He was present at that critical battle. A larger version of the map exists in the National Archives, but there is now speculation that its map may have been one drawn up for the Continental Congress and that the smaller and much better preserved example offered in New England may have been Washington’s own. And if not Washington’s own, at least that of his aide-de-camp, Tobias Lear, who handled a lot of his commander’s papers and through whose family it had passed down. . . .

For the full article, click here»

Speaking of Eighteenth-Century Rome . . .

Posted in marketplace (goods & services), resources, teaching resources by Editor on August 7, 2009

From the Interactive Nolli Map Website, University of Oregon

Under the direction of Jim Tice and Erik Steiner, the University of Oregon has constructed a stunning interactive version of Giambattista Nolli’s Map of Rome from 1748. The digital version, available online for free, is user-friendly, searchable, and comes with several essays that introduce Roman geography, social history, and eighteenth-century cartography. There’s also a fine bibliography. The map can be overlaid with a variety of layers: Gardens, the Tiber River, Rioni, Fountains, City Gates, Walls of Rome, Pathways, Map Icons, and Satellite Images. In addition to exploring (and now modelling) standards that we should expect of scholarly digital projects, the Nolli Map could offer immediately practical uses for teaching assignments. And if you find that the virtual map just makes you want a paper version all the more, the project organizers have teamed up with Raven Maps to produce a new edition available for $95 (in 2005, around the time of the launch of the Nolli wesbsite, one of the original maps sold at Christie’s for £7800, or just over $13,000). The University of Oregon website makes the Raven edition sound irresistible:

At approximately two-thirds the original size, it measures 45 inches by 52.6 inches (114cm x 133cm). It is printed at a scale of 1:4,500, where 1 inch equals 375 feet. Produced to the highest standards in mind, the edition is printed with stochastic screening on 100 lb Finch Fine paper. Stochastic screening is recognized for its superior representation of fine lines and tonal values, and is commonly used for printing high quality black and white photography. The process (in which printed dots are spread randomly throughout the image area instead of in a grid pattern) yields a warmer, less mechanical result perfect for a map of this vintage. A process black ink was used for the printed area and an antique tint lends the map an elegant look and feel.

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