1778 John Mitchell & Antonio Zatta Large Antique Map of North America - Rare

Cartographer : Antonio Zatta

  • Title : Le Colonie Unite dell' America Settentrle. di Nuova Projezione Ass. Ee. Li Signori Riformatori dello Studio di Padova. Venezia 1778, Presso Antonio Zatta, con Privilegio dell' Eccellentissimo Senato.
  • Ref #:  93528
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Size: 52 1/2in x 51in (1.33m x 1.30m)
  • Date : 1778

This impressive very large twelve-sheet joined, original hand coloured important antique map is Antonio Zattas version of John Mitchells 1755 landmark map of North America, published first in 1778. This map is one of a few to be released during the late 18th century copying Mitchells map, in an effort to explain the rapidly changing political & economic situation in North America. Zatta has included many additional notes relating to both the Treaty of 1763 and events in the Revolutionary War. Most importantly, it is the first printed map devoted to the thirteen states, and to use the a name distinguishing them from their previous status as British Colonies. The name United Colonies was used in the Declaration of Independence and was not officially replaced until the Articles of Confederation adopted the name The United States of America.
This is an incredibly important and rare map, especially joined, in excellent condition with original colour. With John Mitchells map is now almost now impossible to find, with the last known sale in 2011 of $175,000US, this map is now one of the few, of that period, that is avaialble.

Zatta published these twelve separate sheets of Mitchells Map of North America, plus three other maps: Il Canada, Le Isole di Terra Nuova e Capo Breton, and La Baja D Hudson in the atlas Atlante Novissimo published from 1779-1785, with a second edition of the Zatta/Mitchell map published in 1791. Zattas version does not cover the far western portions of Mitchells map stretching to the Mississippi. An image of Mitchells map has been included as a point of reference.
Because Mitchells map was immediately recognized as seminal, it was exceedingly popular. Events leading up to the American Revolution only increased that demand. During the midst of the colonists on-going struggle for liberation from England, Zatta published this version which included some additional place names and information on early battles of the American Revolution.
The maps of Venetian publisher Antonio Zatta are noteworthy for their fine craftsmanship and high aesthetics. He was probably the most important Italian map publisher of the late eighteenth century and is responsible for a large number of atlases and single maps of considerable aesthetic and scientific merit.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pink
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 52 1/2in x 51in (1.33m x 1.30m)
Plate size: - 49 1/2in x 49 1/4in (1.26m x 1.25m)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - Light creasing
Plate area: - Light creasing
Verso: - Light creasing

A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America by John Mitchell Map is a landmark map by John Mitchell (1711–1768), which was reprinted several times during the second half of the 18th century, in France, Italy & Germany. The Mitchell Map was used as a primary map source during the Treaty of Paris for defining the boundaries of the newly independent United Colonies. The Mitchell Map is the most comprehensive map of eastern North America made during the colonial era, measuring 6.5 feet (2.0 m) wide by 4.5 feet (1.4 m) high.
Mitchell started compiling a first draught map in 1750 from information acquired in London, both in official & private archives. This proved to be inadequate & George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, accordingly ordered the governors of the 13 British colonies to survey and compile new maps, which most did. These became the basis, along with cartographical information of the French geographer Guillaume Delisle, of his landmark map. Late in 1754, Halifax was using one manuscript copy of Mitchells second map to successfully promote his political position (no compromise with the French) within the British cabinet in the build-up to the Seven Years War, also know as the French and Indian War. Halifax also permitted Mitchell to have the map published: it appeared in April 1755, engraved by Thomas Kitchin and published by Andrew Millar.
The published map bore the title A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America. It bore the copyright date of 13 February 1755, but the map was probably not sold to the public until April or even May. Minor corrections to the maps printing plates were made probably during the printing process (for example, the name and address of the publisher were corrected).
The geographer John Green criticized Mitchell and his map soon after it appeared, emphasizing two failings with respect to Nova Scotia (an area of particular dispute with the French). Mitchell, Green noted, had used neither the astronomical observations for latitude and longitude made by Marquis Joseph Bernard de Chabert in the 1740s nor a 1715 chart of the Nova Scotia coast. In response, Mitchell released a new version of his map, now with two large blocks of text that described all of his data sources; the new version of the map also adjusted the coastline in line with Chaberts work but rejected the 1715 chart as deeply flawed. This version of the map, which Mitchell referred to as the second edition, is commonly thought to have appeared sometime in 1757, but advertisements in the (London) Public Advertiser and Gazetteer and London Daily Advertiser on 23 April 1756 clearly indicate that this new map appeared at that time.
Mitchells map was printed in eight sheets; when assembled, it measures 136 cm by 195 cm (4 feet 6 inches by 6 feet 5 inches; height x width). The initial impressions printed in 1755 have a consistent coloring outlining British colonial claims. Mitchell extended the southern colonies across the entire continent, even over established Spanish territory west of the Mississippi. Mitchell divided up the Iroquois territories (as he understood them, reaching from Lake Champlain [Lac Irocoisia] to the Mississippi, and north of Lake Superior) between Virginia and New York, leaving only a much-reduced territory to the French.
Mitchells map was expensive but it spawned many cheaper variants that trumpeted Halifax and Mitchells powerful colonial vision to the British public. One of these, published in December 1755 by a Society of Anti-Gallicans, restricted the French even further just to Quebec.

The map is liberally sprinkled with text describing and explaining various features, especially in regions that were relatively unknown or which were subject to political dispute. Many notes describe the natural resources and potential for settlement of frontier regions. Others describe Indian tribes. Many Indian settlements are shown, along with important Indian trails.
Since Mitchells main objective was to show the French threat to the British colonies, there is a very strong pro-British bias in the map, especially with regard to the Iroquois. The map makes clear that the Iroquois were not just allies of Britain, but subjects, and that all Iroquois land was therefore British territory. Huge parts of the continent are noted as being British due to Iroquois conquest of one tribe or another. French activity within the Iroquois claimed lands is noted, explicitly or implicitly, as illegal.
In cases where the imperial claims of Britain and France were questionable, Mitchell always takes the British side. Thus many of his notes and boundaries seem like political propaganda today. Some of the claims seem to be outright falsehoods.
The Mitchell Map remained the most detailed map of North America available in the later eighteenth century. Various impressions (and also French copies) were used to establish the boundaries of the new United States of America by diplomats at the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolutionary War. The maps inaccuracies subsequently led to a number of border disputes, such as in Maine.[clarification needed] Its supposition that the Mississippi River extended north to the 50th parallel (into British territory) resulted in the treaty using it as a landmark for a geographically impossible definition of the border in that region. It was not until 1842, when the Webster-Ashburton Treaty resolved these inconsistencies with fixes such as the one that created Minnesotas Northwest Angle, that the U.S.–Canada border was clearly drawn from Maine to the Oregon Country.
Similarly, during the drafting of the Northwest Ordinance, the maps inaccuracy in depicting where an east–west line drawn through the southernmost point of Lake Michigan would intersect Lake Erie led to a long dispute over the Ohio–Michigan border that culminated in the Toledo War.

Zatta, Antonio fl. 1757-1797
Antonio Zatta was a prominent Italian editor, cartographer, and publisher. Little is known about his life beyond his many surviving published works. It is possible that he was born as early as 1722 and lived as late as 1804. He lived in Venice and his work flourished between 1757 and 1797. He is best known for his atlas, Atlante Novissimo (1779-1785), and for his prolific output of prints and books that were both precisely made and aesthetically pleasing. Zatta clearly had a large network from which to draw information; this is how he was able to publish the first glimpse of the islands visited by Captain Cook in the Atlante Novissimo.
Zattas maps are noteworthy for their fine craftsmanship and high aesthetics. His re-engraving and publication of John Mitchells famous map of North America A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America in 1778, is considered one of the best re-issues of this seminal, landmark map .
......He was probably the most important Italian map publisher of the late eighteenth century and is responsible for a large number of atlases and single maps of considerable aesthetic and scientific merit.... (Portinaro & Knirsch, The Cartography of North America, 1500-1800, p. 319).
Zatta was among the leaders in the eighteenth-century revival of fine printing in Italy and his choice of the text of Raynal to support his re-issue of Mitchells Map, is not surprising. Anne Palms Chalmers describes Zatta as a sardonic writer with the focus of a certain amount of political controversy (Venetian Book Design in the Eighteenth Century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 29, No. 5, January 1971, pp. 226-235). Chalmers describes Zattas printing and design as harmonious in composition with ornament unified by style, quality of line, and tone of printing.

Please note all items auctioned are genuine, we do not sell reproductions. A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) can be issued on request.