MONTRESOR, JOHN A Plan of the City of New-York & its Environs to Greenwich, on the North or Hudsons River, and to Crown Point, on th...
[London: Mary Ann Rocque, 1767]. First edition. Engraved by P. Andrews. Neatlines approximately 25 5/8 x 20 7/8 inches (65 x 73 cm); the full sheet 28 3/4 x 22 inches (73 x 59 cm); framed. The image evenly toned, trimmed close along right margin within neatline, mat toned along extremities, the stub on verso secures a short split to horizontal center fold, label of The Old Print Shop to frame verso.
The "excessively rare" (Rosenbach) first edition of the Montresor Plan of Manhattan - produced during the Stamp Act Riots and preceding the Ratzer Plan. In early 1766, in response to the growing chaos of the Stamp Act Riots, Commander-in-Chief of British forces Thomas Gage ordered Lieutenant John Montresor to produce a survey of the city which was accomplished in secret as Montresor noted in his notebooks that such an action in the dangerous city "might endanger ones house and effects if not ones life." Montresor's Plan, accomplished in manuscript and brought to London for engraving by the widow if John Rocque, provides scant detail on street names and major structures but as a military survey provides an important early topography of the established city and its sparsely inhabited northern reaches as the map extends from the tip of the island to Greenwich Village. Notable locations include a Jewish burial ground, the gardened campus of King's College (Columbia), a brew house, and the properties belonging to the De Lancey, Rutgers, Warren, Lispenard and Bayards families. An inset chart depicts the entrance of New York harbor from Sandy Hook. The map was published just a year later and included in Thomas Jefferys A General Topography of North America, replete with a dedication to Gage (this copy bearing a stub on verso and likely extracted from this atlas). The map does not seem to have been an immediate commercial success and very few first edition copies are known. More commonly encountered is the 1776 edition, re-issued at the outset of the American Revolution and updated with the false statement "Survey'd in the Winter, 1775" and with the imprint of the publisher A. Dury added. A French edition also appeared in 1777. Since the sale of the Streeter copy in 1967 ("a most interesting map, showing New York as it was in 1766") we trace only one first edition sold at auction (Sotheby's, 13 June 1991, lot 489, $9,900). The plan was described as "excessively rare" by Rosenbach in 1948. See Augustyn & Cohen Manhattan in Maps 1527-1995, p. 70; Stokes The Iconography of Manhattan Island, p. 339; Haskell (NYPL) Manhattan Maps, p. 22; Streeter 872.
C Property of a New York Collector
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