Arrowsmith’s Early British Map of Cape Colony


South Africa delineated from various documents

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Copper engraving, sheet size 62.5 x 95 cm, map of the Cape Colony with inset of Delagoa Bay, original hand colour in outline, one or two small stains and closed tears, trimmed close to neatline affecting letters of the imprint, old folds and old paper repairs to verso, which is blank other than a note in a contemporary hand addressing the map: ‘To George Peat Esq., Writer, Dunse, N.B [North Britain, ie. Scotland]’.

Peat was a writer (lawyer) in Duns in the Scottish borders. He was probably the first owner of the map, which was published separately by Arrowsmith (rather than forming part of an atlas) soon after British control of the Cape was confirmed by the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1814.

The British had been in de facto possession of the Cape for much of the previous twenty years, but still relied heavily on Dutch cartographic sources. It would be another twenty years before pioneering and reliable British surveys began to appear in print (such as the map by Aaron’s son, John Arrowsmith in 1834; James Wyld’s map of 1844, and Henry Hall’s map of 1857). Our scarce map is an indicator of growing British interest in the region, as something more than a strategic port or staging post on the route to India.


Arrowsmith’s Early British Map of Cape Colony



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Printed Area Measurements

62.5 x 95 cm [sheet size]