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A New Draught of the Island of Madagascar als. St.Lorenzo with Augustin Bay and the Island of Mombass at Large
London: William Mount & Thomas Page, [1734]. Copper-engraved sea chart, in excellent condition. 19 x 22 3/4 inches. A very elegant sea chart of Madagascar and Mozambique, from the celebrated Third Book of 'The English Pilot' This highly attractive and finely engraved sea chart features the large island of Madagascar, and the adjacent coast of the African continent. Madagascar was named São Lorenço by the Portuguese in the early sixteenth-century. By the time that this chart was made, the island was a favoured base for pirates, including Captain Kidd, who took advantage of Madagascar's location near the treasure-laden shipping routes which lay in between the East Indies and Europe. The chart includes a fine inset of Augustin Bay, perhaps the finest anchorage on the island. On the right side of the chart runs the coast of Mozambique, starting from Lorenço Marques (Maputo) in the south up past the Portuguese fort of Mozambique. In the upper center of the map is another fine cartographic inset of Mombassa, the great trading port located on the coast of modern day Kenya. During this time, possession of Mombassa was fiercely fought over between the Portuguese and the Sultinate of Oman. The seas are elegantly traversed by rhumb lines and feature a wealth of navigational information including depth soundings and the locations of reefs and shoals. In 1671, the London cartographer John Seller (fl.1664-97) commenced work on The English Pilot, a work that intended to challenge Dutch hegemony in the sea atlas market. Intended to be published in four books covering different regions of the globe, Seller published an uncompleted book on 'Oriental navigation' in 1675. Unable to continue this Herculean endeavour, Seller sold his rights to John Thornton, the official hydrographer to the English East India Company. Thornton took up the project with great fervour, publishing his first editions in 1689. Thornton did not publish his first edition of the Third Book, detailing navigation in the East Indies, until 1703. While Thornton largely based his charts on those of earlier Dutch cartographers, most notably those found in Pieter Goos' Zee-Spiegel and Lucas Janz Waghenaer's Mariner's Mirror, The English Pilot proved to be enormously popular. When John Thornton died in 1708, his brother Samuel took over the business and added to and modified existing charts. All four books were produced in editions until the 1760s, the Third Book ran into twelve editions up to 1761. The project succeeded in giving the English dominance in the sea chart market as the eighteenth-century progressed. Cf. Phillips, Atlases, 4278-15; Verner & Skelton (eds.), John Thornton - The English Pilot: The Third Book (Facsimile 1703 edition)
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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