THORNTON, John. A New Mapp of the World According to Mr. Edward Wright Commonly called Mercator's Projection. London, 1683.

$ 35,000.00

From Atlas Maritimus or the Sea Atlas…

Engraving with original hand color
Framed size: 31 1/8" x 40 1/8"
Paper size: 19 ¾" x 29"

Literature: Shirley, The Mapping of the World, No. 521.


John Thornton was an English chart-maker and map publisher who revised the earlier work of Edward Wright, Robert Morden and William Berry to construct his excellent "…Mapp of the World…" Thornton's beautifully colored map comprises of two sheets and uses Mercator's projection. In this way, it contrasts greatly with contemporary maps by Dutch and French cartographers who characteristically presented the world in two hemispheres.

In Thornton's work, the coastlines of the continents are as detailed as seventeenth-century cartographical knowledge would permit. As such, areas in the Indian sub-continent, the north-east parts of Asia, the northwest parts of America, and Australasia are rather loosely delineated. California is also falsely represented as an island, and Novaya Zemlya is shown as a peninsula (in keeping with a 1674 map by Nicolas Witsen). In addition, the interior of North America lacks much detail, and the Great Lakes system is only moderately defined. The most significant feature of the map, however, is the marking of two observations of the magnetic variation just east and west of the straits of Magellan. These observations were made in 1650 during the expedition of Sir John Narborough. On the upper-right corner of the map is also a dedicatory cartouche to Sir James Hayes, Kt., deputy-governor of the Hudson's Bay Company.

This is an extraordinarily rare first state example of Thornton's monumental map, and was originally included in his Atlas Maritimus or the Sea Atlas.