A very rare pair of maps of North and South America, remarkable for their mammoth scale, dramatic projection and unusually vibrant color.
The maps employ the rarely-seen orthographic projection, with the North American map centered on the upper Missouri River and the South American on Paraguay. The land masses include major topographical features, national and state boundaries, and major cities, while the oceans are striated with parallel lines indicating the major currents as then understood. The dense black backgrounds combined with the orthographic projection give one the impression of viewing the earth from space, an effect made even more powerful by the mammoth scale of the images.
The maps were manufactured by means of the pochoir technique, which involves the use of a sequence of stencils to guide successive applications of color—usually layers of gouache, as here. “The pochoir process, characterized by its crisp lines and brilliant colors, produces images that have a freshly printed or wet appearance.” (Smithsonian Libraries) In the case of these maps, the use of the technique has yielded an unusually dense, saturated color scheme.
They were the product of a collaboration between noted economist, historian and geographer Emile Levasseur (1828-1911) and one Naud-Evrard, a member of the Geographic Society. The two also collaborated on similar maps of Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania, all of which are extremely rare.
In all, among the most spectacular maps of the Americas I have encountered.
OCLC 556343542 and 556360033 describe respectively examples of the North and South America maps held at the British Library. OCLC 881476122 describes an example of the South America map at the University of Chicago. Not in Rumsey or Phillips, Maps of America.
Some repairs to cracking and chipping, with some retouching of color particularly the black backgrounds.