By: Jean Covens & Corneille Mortier
Date: 1721 (circa) Amsterdam
Original size: 22.5 x 38 inches (57 cm x 96.5)
This beautiful reproduction of a highly coveted map will compliment nearly any style of decor. The rare Covens & Mortier's map, first published around 1721, is unquestionably one of the most fascinating large scale maps published in the 18th Century, and one of the best examples of the depiction of cartographic myth and conjecture at the beginning of the 18th Century. Early cartographers relied on descriptions and surveys of mariners and explorers, and conjecture was employed from time to time where knowledge was lacking. A thorough examination of this map will reveal a number of the hypotheses, postulations and theories regarding sea passages, coastlines, etc., which still influenced the world of cartography as late as the early 18th century.
This is the earliest printed map to show the Bay or Sea of the West, over 30 years prior to any other recorded example of this extraordinary geographical misconception. The map is also noteworthy for its treatment of New Zealand, Australia, Baja California, the NW passage and the land bridge between North America and Asia.
Among the other unique features of this map is the treatment of New Zealand, with its northernmost coastline nearly attaching itself to the Unknown Southern Continent, suggesting that New Zealand was either part of Antarctica or separated from it only by a narrow strait. On the California Coastline, there are two distinct peninsulas, which appear to be an oversized projection of Baja California with a second smaller example of Baja California to the North. we know of no other map which includes this anomaly.
To the north of the Sea of the West, there is also a very bold depiction of the Northwest Passage, shown as a wide open channel flowing nearly due northwest from the Sea of the West to the upper part of Hudson Bay, a most inviting feature for navigational prospects. To the west of the NW passage, we seen a nearly unbroken landmass connecting North America with the Asian continent, culminating with only a very narrow passage between the Islands of Terra De La Compagnie and the Asian mainland, perserving the known existence of a Northeast Passage with the marvelous 16th Century mythical depiction of a land bridge between North America and Asia.
Covens & Mortier's map is unquestionably one of the most fascinating large scale maps of its era and one of the best examples of the depiction of cartographic myth and conjecture at the beginning of the 18th Century.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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