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MORRIS, Lewis

Plans of Harbours, Bars, Bays and Roads in St. George's-Channel, Lately Survey'd under the direction of the Lords of the Admiralty, and now publish'd by their Permission

Lewis Morris, London, 1748
Oblong quarto (220 x 285 mm.), in original blue paper wrappers, spine worn, later box case with calf gilt title label. With ornate engraved title page, Preface, Index and Subscribers Names with Addenda, Observations, pp. iv, (8), 20, with 26 plates including the title (24 charts, 2 of which are folding).
Lewis Morris (1701-65) from his early twenties was employed as an estate surveyor in and around Anglesey many of which survive to this day in Bangor. In 1729 he was appointed ‘Searcher and Customs Officer’ at Beaumaris and Holyhead. It is whilst employed here that he learnt of the poor quality of the charts of the island and coastline of Wales in general. At that time mariners were relying on those of Captain Greenville Collins published in the ‘Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot’ from 1693. Although they were undoubtedly an advance at the time, they were still inadequate. In 1735 he proposed to the Admiralty that he undertake a large scale survey of the Welsh coast. As is often the case he received little support. So he began surveying the island of Anglesey in 1737 using his own funds. With the help of his old employer’s influence at the Admiralty he managed to acquire the use of a vessel in 1739 to continue the work. Still his work received no official backing for publication, so in 1748 he published the work privately.

The ‘Plans of Harbours, Bars, Bays and Roads in St. George’s Channel’ was an immediate success, there are no less than 1,247 individual subscribers listed. The charts were considered a great improvement. The elaborate title is flanked either side by merchant and sailor, below are images of a shipwreck and one under safe passage in close quarters. The imprint below is dated 29 September 1748 and accompanied by a Psalm in Welsh. The plates were all engraved by Nathaniel Hill (fl. 1742-68).

Booth (1977) pp. 94-5; Evans (1964). ‘Maps of Wales and Welsh Cartographers’, in Map Collectors’ Circle no. 13 pp. 11-12; Evans, Olwen Caradoc. (1969). ‘Marine Plans and Charts of Wales’, in Map Collectors’ Circle no. 54 pp. 28-29; Morris, Rear Admiral R. O. (1998). ‘Lewis Morris and his ‘Plans in St. George’s Channel”, in IMCoS Journal no. 74 pp. 45-50; NMM 400; Robinson (1979) ‘Lewis Morris, Chartmaker Extraordinary’, in The Map Collector no. 8 pp. 32-6; Shirley Atlases in the BL M.Morr 1a; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 9763

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