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To the Independent Mariners of America, this Chart of their Coast from Savannah to Boston Is most Respectfully Dedicated
Wm. Heather at the Navigation Warehouse, No. 157 Leadenhall Street, London 1795 - Among Heather's earliest separately-issued blue-back charts of the American coast extending from Georgia to New Hampshire. For most of the eighteenth century, charts were sold bound in atlases. This greatly restricted their size and utility on board ship. As marine survey techniques became more accurate and it became worthwhile plotting on charts and solving navigational problems, charts needed to be laid flat on a table, which made bound charts impractical. After 1800, most commercial charts were sold loose. Their size increased dramatically, and they were backed with blue paper for strength (hence the term "blue back" chart). It was blue backs which were used by the British merchant ships all over the world in the great mercantile expansion of the nineteenth century. William Heather, one of the leading commercial marine publishers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, was a leader in the shift from bound charts to oversized blue backs. Active from 1793 to 1812, his earliest productions were for the European coasting trade, but he soon moved on to charts for the rich commercial markets of North America and Asia. "Heather's own charts had a distinctive clear house style with the titles in elaborate decorative scripts set in a simple circular frame" (Fisher). This map was drawn by John William Norie, and is among the earliest examples of his navigational productions. Norie was a mathematician, hydrographer, chartmaker and publisher of nautical books. His most famous work was the Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805), which became the standard work on navigation and went through numerous editions. "In 1795 he drew his first chart for Heather . and by 1796 he was teaching navigation at Leadenhall Street and was part of Heather's establishment . he and Heather shared the work of drawing charts for the firm between them" (Fisher). The cartographic source for this chart is believed to have been from the surveys of Samuel Holland, as well as those by Des Barres for his Atlantic Neptune. The mapping of the coast is extremely detailed, depicting the numerous bays, inlets, and barrier islands, with soundings throughout. The highly decorative map is oriented with north to the northeast so that the coast runs horizontally across the top of the map, with intersecting rhumb lines below and a central cartouche signed in print by Heather at the bottom of the map. Following Heather's death, Norie took over the Naval Warehouse renaming the company J.W. Norie and Company in 1813, which subsequently became Norie and Wilson, and later Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson. The desirability of 18th century blue back sea charts is enhanced by their great scarcity due to their ephemeral nature: they were easily damaged on board ship and were frequently destroyed when updated charts were issued. The present map was re-issued by Norie later in the 19th century following Heather's death, but the present 18th-century first issue is excessively rare. We find no institutional holdings in North America of this 1795 first issue and only two copies of what appears to be the second issue dated 1799 (New York Public Library and Harvard). No copies of this map appear in the Map Price Record. Fisher, The Makers of the Blueback Charts , pp. 74-83. Blue paper-backed sea chart, drawn by John William Norie and engraved by John Stephenson, printed on two sheets joined, original blue paper backing (light vertical creases with minor abrasions).
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2014-07-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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