Fine set of 4 dissected maps of South American regions, in a custom slip case, formerly owned by Admiral Sir Edwin Gennys Fanshawe of the British Admiralty.
E.G. Fanshawe is perhaps best remembered for a series of over 100 watercolors in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, covering his service in the Pacific from 1849-52, in the Baltic during the Crimean War, and in the Mediterranean. The works by Fanshawe depict and are from his investigative diplomatic voyage during which he visited Pitcairn, where he met the last survivor of the Bounty mutineers, Susan Young, and heard first hand the account of how she killed the last Tahitian crew member with an axe during the island's conflict; Fiji, where he drew what are possibly the earliest portraits of Seru Thakombau, founder of the modern state of Fiji; and Samoa, where his drawings of women show the enduring influence of English fashions on their Sunday-best costume.
Fanshawe (1814-1906) was born at Stoke, Devonport, the son of General Sir Eweard Fanshawe (1783-1858) and grandson of Robert Fanshawe. Fanshawe entered the Royal Navy in 1828, and was promoted to Captain in 1835. He was a typical successful Victorian naval officer. From a naval and military family, and prosperously well connected, he was one of a talented year at the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth. Thereafter he was almost continuously employed in a series of active, world-wide appointments, of which that in the Pacific brought him considerable extra income from official 'freight' fees for the transport of silver.
His highest sea command was as Commander-in-Chief, North America and the West Indies (1870-73), and his other significant posts included Dockyard superintendent at Chatham (1861) and Malta (1868-70), 3rd Naval Lord at the Admiralty (1865- 66), Admiral President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich (1875-78, in succession to his friend and Baltic colleague Sir Astley Cooper-Key), and finally Commander-in-Chief at Portsmouth (1878-79). From November 1879, he also enjoyed an active retirement, his last years only marred by the death of his wife in 1900 and growing infirmity.
The maps may have been used by Fanshawe during his time on the Daphne (1848-1852), which coasted in North, Central and South America during the expedition. This was his only Command in the Americas until his appointment of Commander in Chief, North America and West Indies, in 1870.
The Arrowsmiths were a cartographic dynasty which operated from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth. The family business was founded by Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), who was renowned for carefully prepared and meticulously updated maps, globes, and charts. He created many maps that covered multiple sheets and which were massive in total size. His spare yet exacting style was recognized around the world and mapmakers from other countries, especially the young country of the United States, sought his maps and charts as exemplars for their own work.
Aaron Arrowsmith was born in County Durham in 1750. He came to London for work around 1770, where he found employment as a surveyor for the city’s mapmakers. By 1790, he had set up his own shop which specialized in general charts. Arrowsmith had five premises in his career, most of which were located on or near Soho Square, a neighborhood the led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Joseph Banks, the naturalist, and Matthew Flinders, the hydrographer.
Through his business ties and employment at the Hydrographic Office, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and others entities. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King.
Aaron Arrowsmith died in 1823, whereby the business and title of Hydrographer to the King passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John. Aaron Jr. (1802-1854) was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and left the family business in 1832; instead, he enrolled at Oxford to study to become a minister. Samuel (1805-1839) joined Aaron as a partner in the business and they traded together until Aaron left for the ministry. Samuel died at age 34 in 1839; his brother presided over his funeral. The remaining stock and copper plates were bought at auction by John Arrowsmith, their cousin.
John (1790-1873) operated his own independent business after his uncle, Aaron Arrowsmith Sr., died. After 1839, John moved into the Soho premises of his uncle and cousins. John enjoyed considerable recognition in the geography and exploration community. Like Aaron Jr., John was a founder member of the RGS and would serve as its unofficial cartographer for 43 years. Several geographical features in Australia and Canada are named after him. He carried the title Hydrographer to Queen Victoria. He died in 1873 and the majority of his stock was eventually bought by Edward Stanford, who co-founded Stanford’s map shop, which is still open in Covent Garden, London today.