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The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
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A Chart of the Eastermost Part of the East Indies with all the adjacent islands from Cape Comorin to Japan

London, 1673-[c.77]
390 x 490 mm., in early wash colour, very small worm track lower left margin just entering the latitude scale, otherwise on good thick paper in good condition.
John Seller’s map of the East Indies is one of the more desirable of his sea charts. The first state of the map appears in some examples of Seller’s ‘Atlas Maritimus’ published in 1675. It is derived from the Pieter Goos sea chart of 1666. The most striking feature of the map is the depiction of Australia. Orientated with east to the top it depicts as might be expected Dutch knowledge of the continent. It illustrates the results of Tasman’s second voyage in northern Australia but not that of his first. It also includes the Dutch voyages of Hartog (1616) on the west coast, Houtman (1619), van Leeuwin (1622), Carstensz (1623) in Cape York, Nuyts (1627) along the south coast and de Wit (1628).

Much of the detail in the East Indies records as might be expected the Dutch presence in these waters. The English presence was at this stage limited but ever growing. The two English forts in India on the east coast are highlighted with a flag, Fort St. George is named. The map is traversed by an extensive network of rhumb lines and finished with a dedication the … Berkeley lower right, an ornate scale lower left with curious yacht above on wheels. Above this is a very ornate title cartouche. There are four known states of the map of which this is the third. By 1677 Seller was in financial difficulties and in that year took in partners. This can be seen as a sign of his inabilities. However, his ambitions would have stretched all but the wealthiest publisher. The partners were: William Fisher, a successful publisher whose firm later became Mount and Page; John Thornton, one of the Thames School of chart-makers at the Drapers Company, a man far more qualified than Seller to produce sea charts; James Atkinson and John Colson, eminent teachers of navigation. The combine, as it is known, broke down two years later and its interests were distributed between them. One of the most useful recent discoveries, particularly for these earlier charts, is an example of the ‘Atlas Maritimus’ in the Library of Samuel Pepys held at Magdalene College, Cambridge dated to c.1677. The back of each map bears a manuscript title, and in the upper corner in a similar hand, a date. After studying these dates it has been concluded that they were a very strong guide as to when the map was first issued. The example of this map in the atlas bears the date 1673, which we conclude now to be the original date of issue. Perry pp. 48-9 pl. 22; Tooley p. 142 no. 1132 pl. 131 & Tooley p. 204 no. 33.
Stock number: 8678


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