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1794 Laurie and Whittle Map of Singapore, Malay, and Borneo


A New Chart Containing the Southwest Part of the China Sea, comprised between The Malaya Peninsula, Straits of Sincapore &c, The Straits of Banca, Gaspar and Billiton, and The Isle of Borneo.
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Title:    A New Chart Containing the Southwest Part of the China Sea, comprised between The Malaya Peninsula, Straits of Sincapore &c, The Straits of Banca, Gaspar and Billiton, and The Isle of Borneo.

Description:    A scarce 1794 nautical chart or maritime map of the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, including the island of Singapore (the city had not yet been founded), the Straits of Malacca, and adjacent parts of Sumatra and Borneo. Cartographically this chart is a vastly updated variant of Jean-Baptiste d'Après de Mannevillette's earlier chart issued in the Oriental Neptune. Though the trade center of Singapore had yet to be founded, this passage was nevertheless a well-traveled but extremely dangerous artery in the passage to China and the Spice Islands. The region hosted several important straits, including the Straits of Malacca, the Straits of Sincapore (Singapore), and the Straits of Banca, Gaspar, and Billiton. The cartographer notes the routes of various ships, and their associated soundings, offering a hydrographical timeline of these important waters. Routes identified include those of the French ship Mascarin (1773), the Onslow, the French ship L'Etoile (1775), the Vansittart (1781), and the Chameau and Elephant (1759). Despite these mappings, and others, the region remained dangerous and poorly understood. To illustrate, a note under the Straits of Linging (Lingga) reads 'Very Little Known' and Dogger Banks are 'said to be Dangerous'. In addition to the map proper, this beautiful chart features eleven land profiles, including views of Bintang, Poolo Aore, Linging Island (Lingga), Sowra Island, and Barbe Island, among others. The city of Johor is noted at the southern tip Malay.

This is an extremely scarce nautical chart. The OCLC identifies only one example, in Singapore's Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. We have identified a second in the National Library of Australia and a third in the Library of Congress. No further examples are known. Laurie and Whittle published this chart from their offices at 53 Fleet Street, London, on May 12, 1794. It was issued independently as well as offered in various composite editions of the East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator.


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) 1795.    

References:    Phillips (Atlases) 4069. National Library of Australia, MAP Ra 72 Plate 61. National Library Board, Singapore, Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, English 623.8922472 NEW. OCLC: 308676137.

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.

Cartographer:    Jean-Baptiste d'Après de Mannevillette (February 11, 1707 - March 1, 1780) was a French sailor, navigator, and hydrographer active in the mid-18th century. Mannevillette was born in Le Havre to a family of wealthy seafarers. As a young man he studied mathematics and navigation in Paris before earning his sea legs as a commissioned officer on the merchant vessel Marechel d'Estrees bound for the West Indies. Mannevillette eventually attained the rank of Captain with the Compagnie des Indes. In the course of numerous voyages around Africa to India and China, Mannevillette collected and revised a number of regional nautical charts. His sophisticated use of the most modern instruments, most specifically the Octant or English Quarter, and keen mathematical mind enabled Mannevillette to correct many significant errors common to earlier maps of the region. These updates were eventually compiled and published in Mannevillette's most significant work, the 1745 Neptune Oriental. The Neptune Oriental was well received by navigators and earned him admission into the Academy of Sciences. Eventually he took a position with the French Hydrographic department and in 1775 republished his opus in a greatly expanded format. In 1767 King Louis XV conferred the Order of St. Michael upon him and made him an associate of the Royal Marine Academy. Mannevillette died on March first of 1780 at 75 years of age. Click here for a list of rare maps by Après de Mannevillette.

Size:   Printed area measures 24 x 17 inches (60.96 x 43.18 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 2192000

Condition:    Very good. Blank on verso.

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


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