[Manuscript] Southern Hemisphere

One-of-a-kind manuscript map of the Southern Hemisphere, drawn by a well-to-do English teenager.

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Description

Although it was signed by her sister, Mary, at the bottom, the initials in the lower right corner and semblance in style and handwriting to another map indicate this polar projection was likely drawn by Elizabeth Jane Crompton in 1807.The sheet shows the bottom half of the globe with the equator around the rim, with a largely nonexistent Antarctic continent reflecting one the last great unknowns of 19th century exploration. Other mysteries are evident in “Unknown” areas of Africa’s interior and numerous islands (real and myth) in the South Pacific.

South Africa would have been of immense importance at the time. The year before publication the region was re-occupied by the British after ousting the Dutch in the Battle of Blaauwberg. Place names and interior details were likely copied directly from a contemporary English cartographer – perhaps James Wyld the Elder.

Esholt Hall, faintly visible in pencil adjacent to the title, refers to the estate where Elizabeth resided with her nine siblings as part of a wealthy banking family in Yorkshire. This hand drawn map would been part of Elizabeth’s schoolwork, and the hole in the center of the page may be from taking various geographic measurements. Upon the death of their father, each child received the incredible sum of £11,000 – a significant dowry and an amount reflective of the family’s high status. But unfortunately the Crompton’s success would not last, and today “Esholt Hall is available by way of a new 999-year ground lease at a peppercorn rent” according to a recent retail listing.

The paper on which the map was drawn has a dated watermark – “E&P 1801” – referring to the paper making firm of Edmeades and Pine. I have two others maps on E&P watermarked paper created by members of the Crompton family at Esholt Hall. One is a lovely matching Northern Hemisphere, available at a discounted price of $400 if purchased as a pair.

 

Map Details

Publication Date: 1807

Author: Elizabeth Jane or Mary Francis Crompton

Sheet Width (in): 18.90

Sheet Height (in): 16.10

Condition: A-

Condition Description: The sheet shows minor soiling and discoloration, and there is some wear along the outer edge. Faint pencil marks from the original author. Excellent overall.

Out of stock