Nice example of Mount & Page's striking sea chart of the Spanish Main, which appeared in Mount & Page's English Pilot, Fourth Book, the most important English Atlas of Sea Chart covering the Mediterranean and North America during the 18th Century.
The map extends from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and the Venezuelan coastline. The central compass rose orients the map with west at the top. The major anchorages and shoals are noted. The prominent rhumb lines and decorative title cartouche make this a handsome chart.
The chart title is the same as earlier editions, but shows significant revisions, most notably the addition of a number of place names in along the southern coastline of Puerto Rico.
The series of English Pilot books was started in 1671 by John Seller, whose charts derived from the Dutch pilot books of Pieter Goos. "Seller's English Pilot initiated the independent production of pilot books in England which ultimately overcame Dutch predominance" (Koeman, IV, p. xiii). "For British trading in North America and for the colonists there, the publication of The English Pilot: The Fourth Book must have been a godsend. For the first time an English sea atlas presented charts of the whole eastern seacoast of North America. To modern eyes the charts are crude and sparse of detail; but to the navigator of American waters in that period, it was his Bible. Whatever its shortcomings, there was really no substitute, no real competitor, for over sixty years" (William P. Cumming, British Maps of Colonial America, Chicago & London 1974, p.39).
This work was in such high demand that 37 editions were published from 1689 to 1794, as were three pirated editions. During the history of publication, the charts went through numerous changes, starting with the addition to the 18 charts in the first edition to an eventual 26 in the final (this edition has 25). Nearly every chart in the Fourth Book was reworked and charts were added and replaced by more accurate charts with subsequent editions. Verner notes that 64 different chart titles have been recorded from the editions he examined. Due to its practical nature and use, copies of all editions are quite rare.