1794 Faden & Cook Large Antique Map NW America. Alaska, Canada, Bering Straits

Cartographer : Captain James Cook

  • Title : Chart of the NW Coast of America and the NE Coast of Asia Explored in the Years 1778 and 1779. Prepared by Lieut. Heny Roberts under the immediate Inspection of Capt Cook
  • Ref #:  61145
  • Size: 33in x 23in (840mm x 585mm)
  • Date : 1794
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition

Description:
This very large, beautifully hand coloured original 2nd edition antique map of NW America, NE Russia, North Pacific & the Bering Straits by Henry Roberts & Capt James Cook, with later information from other explorers, was engraved by William Palmer in 1794 - date engraved at the foot of the map - and was published by William Faden in London.

This highly detailed chart of the North Pacific, is based upon Captain James Cook's map from his last voyage of 1784, with updates in 1794 to include discoveries and tracks from the voyages of Captain George Vancouver, Sir Alexander MacKenzie, 18th Century Russian sources about the northern arctic regions and others. One interesting feature is the supposed course of the voyage of Columbia Rediviva, commonly known as the Columbia, a privately owned ship under the command of John Kendrick and Captain Robert Gray, with tracks extending due north into British Columbia. The map also includes a nearly daily course of Cook's voyage along Northern Canada and the NW Coast of America, including the region explored by Vancouver. Details on the NW Passage from Hans Sloan's Japanese map of the world are also included, along with information on certain arctic coastlines from Russian sources and many other annotations. 

Background: The map is the second edition of Lieutenant Henry Robert’s chart depicting Captain Cook’s explorations in the North Pacific during his third and final voyage.  The original Roberts map was suppressed and not included in the official atlas of the journey.  It contained details of the Alaskan coastline and Canadian Arctic not presented on the officially sanctioned map and provided the first relatively accurate mapping of the Northwest Coast of North America, dispelling many of the fantastic theories that had plagued the region for years.
Cook’s death left the production of his final expedition’s findings to two camps of editors: Henry Roberts and Captain King, (the authors of the charts and journals, respectively) and Alexander Dalrymple, Cook’s long-time rival, and his political supporters. Dalrymple won out, and Roberts’ chart was replaced with the less-detailed map engraved by T. Harmar.
It was not understood that Roberts’ chart and the Faden were the same until 1985, when the British Library acquired a proof state of the map.  Roberts had sold his copperplate to Faden, who published this map a month after the publication of the official atlas.  The Roberts / Faden map contains fourteen Alaskan place names not on the authorized map, including Bald Head, Cape Denbigh and Cape Darby in Norton Sound. It also shows, for the first time on any printed map, the results of Hearn’s expedition in the Canadian Arctic.
In 1794,  William Faden commissioned the engraver Louis Stanislas D’Arcy de la Rochette to update Roberts’ chart with new data gathered over the last decade. A note on the map states:

The Interesting Discoveries made by the British and American Ships, since the first Publication of this Chart in 1784, Together with the Hydrographical Materials, lately procured from St. Petersburg and other places, have enabled Mr. De la Rochette to lay down the Numerous Improvements which appear in the Present Edition. 

The 1794 edition of the map also incorporates the supposed course of the American sloop Lady Washington into the Gulph of Georgia in 1794, based upon reports by John Meares, an English fur trader active along the coast of British Columbia. The Lady Washington, commanded by Captain Robert Gray, was the first of many ships sailed by the so-called Boston Men, American fur traders competing for the lucrative China trade. Meares had reported to Captain George Vancouver that Captain Gray had sailed completely around the east side of Vancouver Island, confirming its insularity.  

In describing the first edition, Cohen & Taliaferro (Catalogue 62) note:

 This legendary lost chart was drawn by Henry Roberts for the authorized atlas of Cook's third voyage, but because of disputes among the editors, it was never included.  It is now known that the plate for Roberts' chart, " version more elaborate than that [included] in the authorized atlas" (Campbell), was purchased by Faden and published separately.  Th[e] exceptionally rare first state of  the Roberts-Faden chart is the first published map to show the discoveries of Samuel Hearne in the Canadian Arctic. . . .

Although a few examples of the chart were known, including one belonging to the great Americana collector, Thomas Streeter, its true importance was not recognized until 1985, when a proof copy was acquired by the British Library . . .

...the [map] includes a number of Alaskan place-names not found on the authorized version [in the account of Cook's third voyage]. . . 

This Roberts chart also contains information on interior geography not included on the [official map].  The source for this information came from Samuel Hearne's c.1772 manuscript map of the Coppermine River, in the possession of the Hudson's Bay Company, and which had never before appeared in print.  The Company suppressed Hearne's map to protect its interests in the north.  This was important information because Hearne's map showed the impossibility of a Northwest Passage through Hudson's Bay, and it is curious that the Company had not released it to settle arguments over a point that continued to occupy public attention. . .  (Ref Tooley M&B)

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Pink, blue, yellow, green
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 33in x 23in (840mm x 585mm)
Plate size: - 28in x 17in (710mm x 430mm)
Margins: - Min 2in (50mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Slight loss from to top left margin edge
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

$1,250.00