Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

This chart is from “The first systematic survey of British coastal waters and the first marine atlas of British waters engraved and printed in London from original surveys” (Verner). Since the late sixteenth century navigators in the waters of the British Isles had utilised the printed charts of the Dutch. During the mid-seventeenth century England fought three wars with the Dutch and her reliance on the work of the enemy was a clear source of embarrassment. The Dutch had private charts which were clearly superior to English sources.

On 23 June 1681 Charles II commissioned Captain Greenville Collins to make a survey of the coasts of Great Britain, a task undertaken between 1681 and 1688. Collins was an officer in the Royal Navy who from 1669 to 1671 had sailed with Sir John Narborough on his expedition to the Straits of Magellan and the Chilean coast. He was master of the frigate ‘Charles’ from 1676 to 1679 and served extensively in the Algerian war. He was promoted to Commander in 1679 and retained that rank until his death in 1694.

This is one of the finer engraved plates in the atlas depicting the waters of the Scilly Isles. Verner identified three states of the map, this being the second which appeared almost immediately after the first and is identified by the deletion of latitudinal numbers in the margins. He goes on to state that from 1738 there should be pasted on the bottom of the map a typographical sheet entitled ‘A true Description of the Setting of the Tides … in and about the Islands of Scilly’ by Abraham Toovey. This is present here in loose form. The ‘Coasting Pilot’ is a remarkable surveying achievement, and a landmark in the charting of British coastal waters. ‘Scarcer Maps of the Isles of Scilly’ no. 8; Palmer (1963) no. 10; Sanderson (1971) 335; Shirley (2004) M.Coll 1f; Verner ‘Captain Collins’ ‘Coasting Pilot”, in ‘Map Collectors’ Circle’ no. 58 no. 12.

COLLINS, Captain Greenville

The Islands of, Scilly

London, 1693-[c.1738]
450 x 570 mm., with horizontal fold near the bottom to facilitate binding, flattened out. Printed on good thick paper in very good condition.
Stock number: 6057


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