1794 Laurie & Whittle Nautical Map of the Red Sea from Geddah (Mecca) to Suez
Description: A fine example of Laurie and Whittle’s 1794 nautical chart or maritime map of the northern half of the Red Sea, roughly from Mecca (Jeddah, Geddah), to Suez. The map is oriented with east at the top. Though important to global trade, a combination of numerous reefs, an unwelcoming coastline, and unpredictable wind patterns made mapping and navigating the Red Sea exceptionally dangerous for sailing ships. Consequently, the Red Sea was poorly understood and dangerous to navigate well into the 19th century, until the rise of steam powered ships mitigated some of these issues. The general vagary of this map is illustrative of the overall lack of maritime reconnaissance in the region. Soundings are few and far between, being limited to the Sea of Suez. The cities of Aqaba (Acaba), Jordan, and Eilat (Ailah), Israel, are noted, as is the site of Mt. Sinai. The remainder the map is nautically vague with reefs ghosted in, especially along the Arabian coast. Safe anchorages are noted here and there. Inset maps in the upper left quadrant detail the Harbor of Suez and the Harbor of Tor.
This chart is cartographically derived from Jean-Baptiste d'Apres de Mannevillette’s similar chart issued for the 1745 Neptune Oriental. It was twice reissued by Sayer and Bennet, and again, in this updated version by Laurie and Whittle, who acquired the Sayer and Bennet printing plates. The present Laurie and Whittle example is notable for several important updates based upon survey work conducted by Danish navigator Mr. C. Niebuhr in 1762-3.
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 28 x 21 inches (71.12 x 53.34 centimeters)
Scale: 1 : 1510000
Condition: Very good. Minor wear and verso repair along original centerfold. Original platemark visible. Some offsetting.
Code: RedSeaSuezGeddah-lauriewhittle-1794 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)