291: Important 18th Century North Carolina
Map, "A Compleat [sic] Map of North-Carolina from an actual Survey. By Captn. Collet, Governor of Fort Johnson-----engraved by I. Bayly", published by S. Hooper, No. 25 Ludgate Hill, London, 1770, showing North Carolina and adjacent portions of Virginia and South Carolina from the Atlantic coastline west to Table Mountain (probably Table Rock, near modern-day Morganton, North Carolina) in "the Blue Ridge or the Alagany [sic] mountains", named residences, mills, stores, towns and geographic features, coastline with depth soundings, elaborate baroque style cartouche lower right with dedication to King George III and depictions of the English royal crest, an American Indian, an alligator and a wildcat, hand-colored engraving on two joined sheets, laid paper with "J Whatman" watermark, unframed, 30-1/2 x 44-1/2 in. (plate), generally fresh colors with light toning, darker toning to border on left side and along top margin, creases, old fold lines, separations to some creases within image (largest 1/4 in.), chipping and tears along left side (1-3/8 in. tear extends barely into image, 1/2 x 1 in. L-shaped tear lower right), text bleed, fading, stains, smudges, scattered foxing, pencil inscriptions; verso with paper strip reinforcements, adhesive residue, pencil and ink inscriptions Private Collection, North Carolina, Reserve: $36,000. Born in Switzerland, Captain John Abraham Collet (active 1756-1789) came to America in 1767 to serve as governor of Fort Johnson, near modern-day Wilmington, North Carolina. In 1768, he served Governor Tryon as aide-de-camp in an expedition against the Regulators in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Tryon was impressed with Collet and employed him to produce a map of the region using information collected by William Churton (d. 1767), who had died before completing the task. The accuracy and topographic detail of this map can be largely credited to those earlier works by Churton, who was a surveyor and cartographer for the Granville District, an area that encompassed mainly the northern half of North Carolina. Collet used Churton's surveys and manuscript map as the basis for his map, but did little surveying of his own, leaving the southwestern portion of the state rendered with less detail and accuracy. This map surpasses all previous examples from the region in scope and accuracy and remained the prototype for most maps of North Carolina in the 40 years following its creation. There is only one state of this map and twelve known copies. Reportedly only two copies have been offered at auction in the last 50 years ("The Celebrated Collection of Americana Formed by the Late Thomas Winthrop Streeter", Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, April, 1967; "The Frank T. Siebert Library of the North American Indian and the American Frontier, Part II", Sotheby's, New York, October 28, 1999). Literature: Cumming, [The Southeast in Early Maps,] 1998, pp. 30-31, 308-309; Pritchard and Taliaferro, [Degrees of Latitude: Mapping Colonial America,] 2002, pp. 204-207.