The Americas. Atlas of Maritime Charts published by the Admiralty and Depot Generale de la Marine.


London and Paris [ c.1800- 1890], Large Folio [740 x 520mm], Half calf over marbled boards, with 24 engraved maritime charts, mostly double-page, and many folding charts with coastal profiles, vignettes, etc.

London and Paris [ c.1800- 1890], Large Folio [740 x 520mm], Half calf over marbled boards, with 24 engraved maritime charts, mostly double-page, and many folding charts with coastal profiles, vignettes, etc.

A fine collection of mostly large double-page charts of parts of the West Indies and South America.

Including, Admiralty Charts:

West Indies: St Domingo- Manzillo Bay. Cdr. May, 1873; Gulf of Mexico- Bay of Campeche. Lt Lawrence, 1858. Large double page chart

with engraved profiles; Trinidad to Surinam. 1852; West Indies to Venezuela., Cdr. Ryan, 1817, with inset chart; Plan Bay of Fort Dauphin- St Domingo, 1828; West Indies, Haiti or St Domingo – Gonaives Bay, Cpt Evans, 1882; West Indies, Almirante Bay – Crawl Cay & Shepherd Harbour, 2 charts on one sheet, Cdr. Barnett, 1839; West Indies, Coast of Honduras, Cdr. Barnett, 1847, large double-page chart; West Indies, Trinidad Island & Gulf of Paria, Cdr. Chimmo, 1869, large double-page chart; Gulf of Mexico, Cay Arenas, Cdr. Barnett, 1839; West Indies, Boca del Toro & Boca del drago, Cdr. Barnett, 1847, engraved profile, two charts on one sheet; Central America. Fonseca Gulf to Sonsonate Road. Cpt Edward Belcher, 1852; West Indies, St Domingo – Jeremie Bay & Miragoane Harbour. Cdr. W.W. Kiddle, 1873; Plans of the Ports in St Domingo, 12 Inset Charts, 1855; South Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz -Santa Roza, 6 inset Charts, Lt. Wood, 1860, large double-page chart; Canada. Georgia Strait & Strait of Juan de Fuca, Cpt Pritchett, 1898. Large double-page chart.

Depot de la Marine:

Baie des Gonaives (Haiti ou St Domingue), Lt Badot, 1852, engraved profiles; Plan de la Baie de Coquimbo, Chile. Cpt de la Grandier, 1858; Carte de la Amerique Meridionale – Chile, Engraved Profiles, 1862, large double-page chart;Plan D’Atterrage du Callao de Lima, Perou. Cpt Du Petit-Thouaps, 1844, Large double -page chart; Plan de La Lagune de Terminos – Golfe Mexique/ Yucatan. Lt Lawrence, 1858; Ile Carmen Golfe Du Mexique. Lt Lawrence, 1865; Jamaique. Savanna La Mer. M. Cavenaugh, 1867; Ile De Guadaloupe, 1867.

These Admiralty charts or hydrographic charts were produced by the British Admiralty and the Depot de la Marine. The Hydrographic Office was established as a sub-department of the Admiralty in 1795 and issued its first officially published Admiralty chart in November 1800.

Depot des Cartes et Plans de la Marine (fl. 1720 – present), often called the Depot de Marine, was a French hydrographic mapping organization founded in 1720. Much like the U.S. Coast Survey, the British Admiralty, and the Spanish Deposito Hydrografico, the Depot was initiated as a storehouse and distribution centre of existing nautical and marine charts. Eventually the Depot initiated its on mapping activities in an attempt to improve and expand upon existing material. Some of the more prominent figures in the development of the Depot were Jacques Nicholas Bellin and Robert Bonne.

Most Admiralty charts delineate the coastline and high and low water marks, and record the depth of water as established from soundings. They record navigational hazards such as reefs and wrecks, and navigational aids, such as lights, buoys and beacons. Most charts have a compass indicator, often an elaborate compass rose. They also have some indication of scale, either a scale bar or representative fraction, or a border showing degrees of latitude and longitude.

One of the characteristics of an Admiralty chart is that it is continually updated and corrected. Obsolete charts were regarded as dangerous and were to be destroyed because they presented a potential navigational hazard. Dates of survey and compilation are minutely recorded, as are those of the corrections continually made to maintain the accuracy and utility of the chart. These corrections were often made by amending the existing copper plates on which the chart was engraved and re-publishing it as a new edition; in other instances, the chart was completely re-drawn. However, in the early years of the Hydrographic Office, published Admiralty charts were drawn on earlier surveys. In extreme cases this means that some charts may be based on surveys made more than a century earlier. For example, Admiralty chart 751, the chart of Maculla Bay which was listed in the first published catalogue of 1825, bears a survey date of 1703. They are also numbered in manuscript to record when they were updated.

Some Admiralty charts contain little information on areas inland of the foreshore other than that required to assist in making a landfall. Others include extensive representations of land features and may also have coastal elevations and topographic views as insets. Nineteenth-century charts in particular may include ground plans of sites of archaeological interest, or details of coastal forts and other defences, as well as pictures of natural features. Some insets contain detailed charts of harbours. Admiralty charts record names given to coastal features and include many names no longer in use today. In many instances they also provide the best and most easily accessible maps of small oceanic islands. Some charts record surveys of navigable rivers.

This collection of charts records the date of the survey, the captain, officer and in many cases the ship or ships that took part.

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