London: Robert Sayer, 1772. unbound. Map. Copper plate engraving with original outline hand coloring. Image measures 18 3/4 x 51"
This large scale map of the Russian Empire covers the European as well as the Asian portions of Russia. Extends from the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea east to include an unusual mapping of Kamchatka, and beyond to the speculatively mapped Alaskan Peninsula of North America. Includes Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic. Includes parts of neighboring China, Poland and parts of Scandinavia. Intricately detailed, notes numerous town, with topography beautifully rendered in profile. Based on d'Anville's map, perhaps the most interesting feature is the mapping of the largely unexplored northeast portion of Asia. The mysterious Company's Land or "Land of the Company according to the Dutch" and "Land seen by Jean de Gama" as well as the Strait of Vries are identified. Company's Land and Gamma Land were considered to be the early mappings of the Kurin Islands discovered by Maerten de Vries and Cornelis Jansz Coen in 1643. They believed that these islands were part of America, which was separated from Asia by the Strait of Vries. In 1729, Bering finally debunked their myth, but the islands appeared in maps for another 50 years. Bering's Island is identified, where the great Arctic explorer ultimately died in 1741. The conjectural mapping of North America includes the note "Some pretend that this Land may be seen from Bering's Island. The "Present War between the Turks and the Russians" mentioned in the title refers to the Russo-Turkish wars fought between the 16th and 20th century, the longest series of conflicts in the history of Europe. Printed on two sheets, joined together (as issued). In very good condition with minor foxing. Some wear and toning along folds. Edge wear. Robert Sayer (1725-1794) was an important English publisher of maps, portraits, and nautical engravings. Partnering with John Bennett around the 1760s, the two published the works of well-known cartographers such as Kitchen, Jefferys, Belling, d'Anville and others. This beautiful, large-scale map is an impressive example of his work.