SDUK. “Calcutta.” A very detailed map of Kolkata from 1842 – First Edition

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I think I have at least 3 copies of this. The first one doesn’t have any scenes, second one is in good shape, but very green and non-descript and third one (which is the First Edition of this map) has some detailed scenes that are really delightful – not because they show beautiful public buildings, but because they show images of people from Calcutta at that time and how they fit in to the British Raj.

A detailed and precisely drawn map of Calcutta by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). This wonderful English enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. The Society is noted for their excellent maps, in particular their series of city maps of all parts of the world. These maps show most streets and major buildings. This map of Calcutta is typical of the Society’s output, with clear presentation of much detail of the city. Fort William and the Esplanade are prominent in the east, with the maze of streets of the city proper shown bounded by the “New Circular Canal.” A key identifies public buildings and churches. Along the bottom are three vignettes, showing the Writers Building, the Government House, and the Esplanade Row. A fine map of the city from near the middle of the nineteenth century.

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[First edition.] Fine, original, steel-engraved plan of Calcutta, by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK), published as part of the Society’s Atlas in 1844, in London, by Chapman and Hall. The SDUK began its map publishing project under the leadership of Captain Francis Beaufort R.N. in 1829, and published the maps in parts, haltingly, over the next 15 years, completing the series in 1844, finally permitting the publication of a whole atlas. Many of the maps were actually drawn by Beaufort, who at the time was the Hydrographer to the Royal Navy, and all were closely supervised by him. J. & C. Walker worked closely with Beaufort in engraving the maps. The idea for the town plans, of which the SDUK published many dozens, was that of W. B. Clarke, an architect, who became an enthusiastic advocate for the plans, and who executed most of them himself, often on the basis of personal on-site observations. The plans are highly decorative, and often have accompanying vignettes, or sketches of the main buildings. Finely engraved, the plans set a standard of excellence for commercial map-makers in England for decades to come. Dimensions 16 1/4″ x 13 1/2″ overall. Excellent condition. High bidder pays 9.00 shipping and handling.

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