September 26, 2018 O'Connor's Americana Collection
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/26/2018
PFISTER, Francis (1740-1777). Untitled manuscript map [A Survey of the Hudson River, Lakes George and Champlain commencing at New York City and from thence to St. Johns] on 3 sheets, ink and graphite with watercolor wash. Not dated, but approximately 1758 with possible later additions. Approximate scale 1:633,600 (10 miles to 1 inch). 3 sheets of laid paper, each sheet approximately 15 x 9 1/4 inches and cut into six sections for ease of folding, then mounted to linen backing; with its original pressboard traveling case, approximately 4 3/4 x 5 3/4 x 1 inch, covered in buff silk and bearing decorative edging and inscription in black ink, 'MAP FROM NEW-YORK to St. JOHN'S.' WITH one drafting divider/compass of brass, 2.5 inches H--all that remains today of Pfister's captured drafting set. This highly important, manuscript map of the Hudson River corridor from New York City to St. Johns, Quebec is undoubtedly the map that Pfister had with him on campaign when mortally wounded at the battle of Bennington. It was taken from his saddlebags, along with his commission, papers and a set of drawing instruments, by Jonathan Armstrong, a Patriot volunteer from Dorset involved in the attack on the Tory Redoubt. A "map of the rout from St. Johns through lakes Champlain and George, and along the Hudson to New York" was still in the possession of Armstrong's grandson in 1860, which was described as being "in three parts for the convenience of folding and use, the whole being about 4 feet long by 10 inches wide." It was that the "lakes and rivers are colored and whole is so neatly and accurately done with a pen as to be scarcely distinguishable from a fine engraving." While cataloging this map, a study was made of other known contemporary maps, both printed and manuscript, to determine whether this map was an original work prepared by Pfister or a copy of another known map. Two extant maps are clearly closely related: 1) A [printed] map of the Province of New-York reduc'd from the large drawing of that Province, compiled from actual surveys by order of His Excellency William Tryon, Esqr., Captain General & Governor of the same, by Claude Joseph Sauthier; to which is added New Jersey. London: William Faden, 1776 and 2) A survey of Lake Champlain, from Crown Point to Windmil Point, and from thence to St. Iohns. This latter manuscript map, rendered in ink and watercolor, was executed in 1762 by William Brasier, then serving as "Deputy Draughtsmen in the Ordnance Office (a later version of this map was published in London by Sayer & Bennet in 1776). Brasier, a civilian draughtsmen and surveyor in British employ, was also involved in the preparation of the Sauthier map of 1776. It should be noted that Brasier had earlier served as an assistant to Ratzer, Pfister and other engineer officers during the late war with France. The third or upper sheet of the Pfister map, depicting Lake Champlain to St. Johns, is nearly identical to the Brasier map of 1762 and it is very likely that both originated from earlier surveys conducted during the war involving all three mapmakers. While the two lower sheets of the Pfister manuscript map share similarities to the Sauthier-Brasier printed map of 1776, there are enough differences and discrepancies in terms of what is respectively mapped and labeled, that make it quite clear that the Pfister map is not derivative, but rather an original, related work. Pfister completed his beautiful, finished map from earlier surveys and mapping efforts, much of it probably gathered firsthand during both his military service and later land deals as a civilian. For example, the second sheet of Pfister's map depict the Hoosick Valley and the Hampshire Grants in far greater detail than other contemporary maps--almost certainly derived from survey and mapping work of the military land grants and other properties acquired by him along the present-day New York-Vermont border. One of the most important and visually-compelling, manuscript maps of the Revolutionary War epoch to surface in decades.

Item Dimensions: 18" x 14".
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $25,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $84,000.00
Estimate: $50,000 - $75,000
Number Bids: 16
Auction closed on Wednesday, September 26, 2018.
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