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1794 Laurie & Whittle Nautical Map of Mathurin Bay, Rodrigues Island, Mauritius


Plan of Mathurin Bay, on the North Side of the Island of Diego Rays, called by the French Isle Rodriguez, in the Indian Ocean.
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Title:    Plan of Mathurin Bay, on the North Side of the Island of Diego Rays, called by the French Isle Rodriguez, in the Indian Ocean.

Description:    This is a fine example of Laurie and Whittle's 1794 nautical chart or maritime map of the port of Mathurin Bay, Iles. Rodrigues, Mauritius. The map shows detail sounding in the harbor as well as the early settlement that would eventually evolve into Port Mathurin, the capital of the Island of Rodrigues, a semi-autonomous dependency of Mauritius. Rodrigues was settled by the French in 1691 and Port Mathurin founded in 1735. Though rarely visited due to its remoteness, the harbor was the subject of a detailed survey by Englishman William Nichelson in 1761. The map identifies the site of the French governor's house, storehouses, and watering holes.

Laurie and Whittle prepared this chart for their 1799 issue of the East-India Pilot. Though most charts in the East-India Pilot were derived from earlier maps prepared for Jean-Baptiste d'Apres de Mannevillette’s 1745 Neptune Oriental, this particular chart is a new production unique to Laurie and Whittle. The map offers rich detail including countless depth soundings, notes on the sea floor, commentary on reefs, rhumb lines, shoals, place names and a wealth of other practical information for the mariner. This map was registered by Laurie and Whittle from their offices at 53 Fleet Street, London, on May 12, 1794.


Date:    1794 (dated)

Source:    Laurie, R., and Whittle, J., The East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator, on One Hundred and Eighteen Plates: Containing a Complete Collection of Charts and Plans, &c., &c. for the Navigation not only of the Indian and China Seas, but of those also between England and the Cape of Good-Hope; Improved and Chiefly Composed from the Last Work of M. D'Apres de Mannevillette; with Considerable Additions, from Private Manuscripts of the Dutch, and from Draughts and Actual Surveys Communicated By Officers of the East-India Company A New Edition, Containing One Hundred and Five Charts. (London: Laurie and Whittle) 1797.    

Cartographer:    Laurie and Whittle (fl. 1794 - 1858) were London, England, based map and atlas publishers active in the late 18th and early 19th century. Generally considered to be the successors to the Robert Sayer firm, Laurie and Whittle was founded by Robert Laurie (c. 1755 - 1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818). Robert Laurie was a skilled mezzotint engraver and is known to have worked with Robert Sayer on numerous projects. James Whittle was a well-known London socialite and print seller whose Fleet Street shop was a popular haunt for intellectual luminaries. The partnership began taking over the general management of Sayer's firm around 1787; however, they did not alter the Sayer imprint until after Sayer's death in 1794. Apparently Laurie did most of the work in managing the firm and hence his name appeared first in the "Laurie and Whittle" imprint. Together Laurie and Whittle published numerous maps and atlases, often bringing in other important cartographers of the day, including Kitchin, Faden, Jefferys and others to update and modify their existing Sayer plates. Robert Laurie retired in 1812, leaving the day to day management of the firm to his son, Richard Holmes Laurie (1777 - 1858). Under R. H. Laurie and James Whittle, the firm renamed itself "Whittle and Laurie". Whittle himself died in six years later in 1818, and thereafter the firm continued under the imprint of "R. H. Laurie". After R. H. Laurie's death the publishing house and its printing stock came under control of Alexander George Findlay, who had long been associated with Laurie and Whittle. Since, Laurie and Whittle has passed through numerous permeations, with part of the firm still extant as an English publisher of maritime or nautical charts, 'Imray, Laurie, Norie and Wilson Ltd.' The firm remains the oldest surviving chart publisher in Europe. Click here for a list of rare maps from Laurie & Whittle.

Size:   Printed area measures 27 x 21 inches (68.58 x 53.34 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 15840

Condition:    Very good. Minor wear along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Some offsetting.

Code:   MathurinBay-lauriewhittle-1794 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)


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