This is a fine example of Laurie and Whittle's 1794 nautical chart or maritime map of the Bays of St. Augustin and Tullea (Tulear Bay) on the western coast of Madagascar. The chart covers part of the modern day Atsimo-Andrefana Region from Toliara to Saint Augustin and Soalara in the district of Toliara II. The mouth of the Darmouth or Onilahy River is also noted. In the upper right quadrant, the map includes five coastal profile views.
The Mozambique - Madagascar region was one of the earliest parts of sub-Saharan Africa to be settled and explored by Europeans. In the 17th century, Madagascar, with its forbidding reef-ridden coastline and amicable population became a pirate haven, hosting such infamous buccaneers and John Avery, Henry Every, Thomas Tew, and Captain Kidd. By the time this map was drawn the passages around Madagascar had become particularly dangerous. Madagascar was also home to the legendary utopian pirate republic, called Libertatia or Libertalia, established in the 17th century. When Captain William Kidd visited in 1697 to undertake repairs to his ship, he is said to have lost half his crew to the delights of Libertatia. Nonetheless by 1825 piracy in the region had diminished significantly under continual pressure from European merchant navies. This map was based on the surveys in 1755 and 1768 and was published by Laurie and Whittle from their offices at 53 Fleet Street, London, on May 12, 1794. It was issued independently as well as offered in their 1797 East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator.
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 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.
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.
Very good. Original platemark visible. Two maps on one sheet.