By: original cartographer unknown / Reissue by: David Thomas Valentine / Engraved by: George Hayward
Date: original manuscript 1664 / Reissue 1859 (Published) New York
Dimensions: 21.75 x 27.25 inches ( 55.25 x 69.22 cm)
This interesting map is a reissue of the well-known “Duke’s Plan” of the city of New York, a manuscript map which was originally published in 1664, and which resides in the British Library in London. David T. Valentine, a civil clerk in New York City in the mid-19th century, collected and reissued a number of the finest and most rare maps of Manhattan, including this fine so-called ‘Duke’s Plan’.
The original of the map was discovered in the British Library by George H. Moore a visiting librarian of the New York Historical Society, who obtained permission for its reissuance. The reissued map received the stamp of approval from Richard Sims of the Manuscript Department of the British Library, and his notation stating that the reissue is true to the original is found in the lower right quadrant. As a manuscript map, it had never been seen by the general public before being published by Valentine.
The Duke’s Plan is oriented east and covers the more developed southern area of the island, south of Wall Street. It was issued shortly after Charles II of England granted the recently conquered New Amsterdam to his brother, the Duke of York; hence, the renaming. The title cartouche states that the depiction renders the area as it appeared in September 1661, ‘Anno Domini’. Below the elaborate cartouche is the date 1664. The map is oriented east, and covers in detail the area to the south of Wall Street, but also extends to the north to what would now be lower mid-Manhattan. It also covers some small settlements in Brooklyn and New Jersey.
The number of buildings on the map is somewhat surprising for such an early date, with fifty four in the area north of Wall Street and many streets in the southern region lined with Dutch-style housing reminiscent of Amsterdam. The fortress, the ‘Governours House and Garden’, and a marvelous large windmill are all depicted. The settlement is well-fortified with artillery in the form of cannons positioned along the northern edge of Wall Street and in one place on the island’s eastern edge.
The map is beautifully embellished with numerous frigates of myriad design, most flying British colors.
Condition: This folding map in B+ condition has been backed with archival paper, thus repairing fold separations. Some light soiling at original fold lines.
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