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Map, Ireland, Horace Thayer, Antique Print, 1850


Humphrey Phelps (copyright)
Horace Thayer & Co., New York and Buffalo: c. 1849-51
Hand-colored lithograph
29 x 21 inches, ruled border
30 x 22.25 inches, overall
34 x 24 inches, Victorian walnut frame

Large illustrated broadside map of Ireland, with detailed cartography, including counties, towns, rivers and bays. Elevated areas are indicated with shading. Portraits of the Irish patriots Daniel O’Connell and Robert Emmett are placed within cartouches in opposite corners. The title is printed at the top in a large, fancy typeface characteristic of the era, flanked by illustrations of harps. The other three borders are decorated with a pattern of clovers and harps. The map was designed and published in New York, apparently to be marketed to Irish immigrants.

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Beneath the map are two text blocks. A”Statistic Table” lists acreage and population tables for Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connaught. A “Historical Sketch of Ireland” summarizes the country’s history in three paragraphs, beginning with a brief discussion of the early tribal settlements and the role of St. Patrick in establishing Christianity. However, it mainly chronicles the political tensions between England and Ireland from the Middle Ages to 1830 from a distinctly pro-Irish, anti-British perspective. O’Connell and Emmett are presented as recent heroes of the pro-Irish movement –O’Connell for his pivotal role in the adoption of a “Catholic Emancipation bill” by the British parliament in 1830, and Emmet as a martyr of the Irish independence movement who was hung as a traitor by the English after leading a rebellion against British rule in 1798.

This map was copyrighted by Humphrey Phelps in 1847. It likely was published between 1849 and 1851, by Horace Thayer & Co., when they were at 50 Ann Street in New York, along with their sometime collaborators the Ensigns and Humphrey Phelps. The name and address of Sowle & Ward in Boston is also imprinted on the lower margin; lithographic historian Harry T. Peters believes they were “only distributors.” The David Rumsey Map Collection has what apparently is a later reissue of the map, which they have dated as 1855, published by Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning, who sometimes published maps with Thayer, That date coincides with a period during which Thayer had gone to Warsaw, New York, to establish a map-roller manufactory.

The lithography firm of Humphrey Phelps (also known as Phelps, Humphrey) operated in New York City from 1841 to 1853, and at various times co-published work with Ensigns & Thayer. They produced maps, prints and books, and are known for the “Phelps Guides” series of folding maps and wall maps for travelers, which Phelps began producing in 1838.

Horace Thayer was a lithographer and map publisher active in New York City, Buffalo and Warsaw, New York. He came to New York City in 1845 and shared an office with the Kelloggs, a large multi-city publishing operation, from 1846-47. Thayer, Bridgman and Fanning worked as a printing partnership in New York City from at least 1853 to 1861.They published Traditions of De-Coo-Dah about ancient Native American mounds and fortifications (first edition 1853).The three members of the firm were also variously in business partnerships with other New York City printing firms. Both Fanning and Thayer also worked with Timothy and Edward Ensign, and with their associates. Thayer spent the period between 1854 and 1858 in Warsaw, New York, establishing a map roller manufactory. He returned to New York City in 1859, but left again for Warsaw by 1864. In 1866 he moved to the nearby village of Johnsonburg and was still there in 1874. Between 1841 and 1861 the Ensigns worked with the firms Phelps, Humphrey; Ensigns & Thayer (with Horace Thayer); and as Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning. All of these various firms, including Thayer, Bridgman and Fanning, produced a number of notable books on American history and traveler’s guides that incorporated maps and illustrations, as well as separately issued wall and pocket maps and prints.

Full publication information: Published by Horace Thayer & Co., 50 Ann St., New York, and 127 Main St. Buffalo. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1847, by H. Phelps, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York. Sowle & Ward, 42 Cornhill, Boston.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with minor remaining toning, wear and minor scattered brown discoloration spots. Few minor tears professionally restored verso. In Victorian walnut frame with realistic twig motif.


Groce, George C. and Wallace, David H. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. p.623 (Thayer).

“Ireland.” David Rumsey Map Collection. 2010. (29 October 2014).

Peters, Harry T.America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 181, 243, 325 (Thayer, Bridgman and Fanning) and 373 (Sowle).

Additional information


19th Century