Highly detailed 4 sheet map of Asia, based on the cartography of the famous French cartographer Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d' Anville.
Sayer's map provides an extremely detailed view of the continent and extends to include all of South East Asia and numerous islands of the Pacific, with emphasis on English discoveries. While Kamchatka is represented relatively accurately, there is still imprecision in the North Asian coast. The Russian discoveries appear in the vicinity of Alaska, and the Dutch discoveries are shown in the region north of Japan. The Carolines are accurately depicted on an east-west axis. Evidence of Capt. Cook's voyage of 1770 is noted in the lower right corner in the "New Straits between New Guinea and New Holland." The large decorative cartouche features an Asian merchant, his exotic goods, and a camel.
Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) was a prominent London map publisher. Robert’s father was a lawyer, but his older brother married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop after his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in early 1748, it passed to Robert. Robert became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December.
Sayer benefited from Overton’s considerable stock, which included the plates of John Senex. In the 1750s, Sayer specialized in design books and topographical prints, as well as comic mezzotints. In 1753, he, along with John Roque, published a new edition of Thomas Read’s Small British Atlas, the first of several county atlases that Sayer would publish.
Sayer’s business continued to grow. In 1760 he moved further down Fleet Street to larger premises at 53 Fleet Street. In 1766, he acquired Thomas Jefferys’ stock when the latter went bankrupt. In 1774, he entered into a partnership with John Bennett, his former apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Jefferys. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade.
Bennett’s mental health declined, and the partnership ended in 1784. As Sayer aged, he relied on his employees Robert Laurie and James Whittle, who eventually succeeded him. He spent more and more time at his house in Richmond. In 1794, he died in Bath.