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Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints
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The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
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The rare first state of the first British sea chart to depict Hong Kong. The map depicts the mouth of the Canton River in southern China. Published by Robert Sayer & John Bennett, it was published in the ‘East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator’, their ‘most sumptuous compilation’ (Shirley). Robert Sayer (1725?-94) was born in Sunderland to a lawyer, James Sayer and his wife Thomasine. In 1747 his elder brother James married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop following his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in 1748, it passed to Robert. He became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December. In 1754 he married Dorothy Carlos, ‘an agreeable young lady with a handsome fortune’!

In 1774 he joined in partnership with his apprentice John Bennett (fl.1774-83), who had been made free in that year. The understanding was that in four years Bennett would become a partner with a third share in the business. The agreement allowed Bennett to continue more with the print side of the business and the management on a day-to-day basis. It allowed Sayer to take on less work and focus on maps which was his area of expertise.

This chart is credited to a Captain George Haytor of the East India Company. He surveyed these waters in the ‘York’. Hong Kong is here named ‘Fan-Chin-Cheou or He-ong-Kong’, the former is not known to appear on any other map according to Talbot. As was the case at the time, the myriad of islands in the mouth of the Canton River took time to chart. Here Hong Kong is depicted as two islands with a narrow strait between. The island of Lantao is also poorly depicted. Sanderson (1971) 417 no. 55; Shirley (2004) M.Say-3a no. 91; Talbot (1970).

SAYER, Robert

A Chart of the China Sea from the Island of Sanciam to Pedra Branca with the Course of the River Tigris from Canton to Macao

London, 1780?
600 x 790 mm., early outline and wash colour, in good condition.
Stock number: 8395

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