3 Unique Maps Headed for NYC Winter Antiques Fair

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bromley map of manhattenDaniel Crouch Rare Books have announced that they plan to bring maps of three of the biggest cities in the world to the Winter Antique Show, which runs from January 19-28th in New York’s Park Avenue Armory.

Visitors to the Winter Antiques show will be able to see a display of George and Walter Bromley’s ‘Atlas of the City of New York – Borough of Manhattan’ from 1908: a pink 25’ wide fire insurance map in 38 individually framed sheets.

The map is not only an important document from the end of ‘the gilded age’, but also demonstrates how maps can be displayed in interior spaces for decoration. The map includes outlines of buildings, street names, sidewalk widths, number of stories, basements and natural features such as rivers. It also shows the composition of buildings by listing materials such as brick, stone, iron and wood in their descriptions.  These maps are a valuable resource for historical research, genealogy, planning, conservation and demography.

Bernard Ratzers Plan of the City of New YorkVisitors will also be able to view Bernard Ratzer’s 1776 ‘Plan of New York’, showing the southern end of Manhattan island. There were about 25,000 people living in the city at this time and you can see the countryside shown in the surrounding marshy areas of New Jersey and parts of (present day) Brooklyn along the East River. The map is a significant improvement of Ratzer’s own 1769 plan, which the gallery will also display at the fair. Notable for its accuracy, his later map gives street names, roads, buildings and the names of chief property owners.

Back across the Atlantic, another fire insurance map on the gallery’s stand is Richard Horwood’s spectacular 1799 map of London. This is the largest printed map in Georgian Britain and charts the entire city of London, Westminster and Borough of Southwark. It was produced for use as an aid for the Phoenix Fire Office, an English fire insurance company for whom it is understood Horwood worked. The plan, nearly ten years in the making, demonstrates incredible levels of detail, showing the parts of the city that had yet to be developed and notably includes house numbers, which had only started being used in 1735.

The Paris offering is Michel-Étienne Turgot’s ‘Plan de Paris’ (1739) depicting a birds-eye-view of the French city during the reign of Louis XV. Turgot was the Mayor of Paris from 1690-1751 and aimed to promote the city’s reputation through the creation of a comprehensive city plan. It took two years to complete, and once published, prints were offered to the King and other important officials.

Daniel Crouch Rare Books is a specialist dealer in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The maps on display will all be for sale.

Photos from above: Atlas of the City of New York – Borough of Manhattan map, and Bernard Ratzer’s Plan of the City of New York, 1776, provided.

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