Rare early English Sea Chart of South East Asia, pubished separately in London by Mount & Page and included in their Atlas Maritimus.
This chart covers the eastern coast of the Indian peninsula, South East Asia and the East Indies with in the upper right the coast of China, Formosa (Taiwan) and the Korean 'island' entitled 'Coray'.
The present sea chart is one of the earliest English Sea Charts of Southeast Asia, following an earlier chart published by John Seller. In comparing this chart with its English and Dutch counterparts, several areas like India are shown to be much more accurate. Many of the Factories of the Company are shown throughout the region. John Seller's own chart of the region was orientated with the east at the top. Later, John Thornton issued a second updated plate which is oriented with North at the top.
Founded in 1600, the East India Company was a group of London Merchants given the exclusive rights to trade with anywhere east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the Straits of Magellan. The Dutch East India Company and other European powers were already well established in the region which made success hard to find. The first Factory or trading post established was at Bantam on the island of Java shown on the map. It would close in 1683, as the Company had discovered that the Indian peninsula was generating much greater successes. By 1647, The East India Company had 23 factories in India. The strength of the Indian trade enabled the Company to make inroads into the spice trade in the Malacca's going up against the Dutch in the process. In 1668, a trading post was opened in Bombay. Around 1670, King Charles II passed five Acts which greatly improved the Companies rights and powers in the region. It was with this in mind that John Thornton published his first charts to illustrate the territory in which it was operating.
The various maritime atlases published in England in the latter portion of the seventeenth century are bibliographically very complicated. John Thornton (1641-1708) was one of the most important of the so-called Thames School of chart makers. Collectively they provided the initial impetus for the great era of English mapmaking, and are classified together because they were stylistically alike, and all had premises along or near the River Thames. Thornton was one of the few from the school who made the transition to become a publisher.
The 'Atlas Maritimus' was first published by John Seller but the combination of so many varied activities, instruments, preparations for all the parts of his 'English Pilot', and publication of the 'Atlas Maritimus' and 'Atlas Terrestris', stretched Seller's finances to the limit. By 1677, he was forced into an arrangement with four of his competitors. The partners included John Thornton, and William Fisher who was a successful publisher whose firm later became Mount and Page. The firm of Seller in the hands of his son Jeremiah published in partnership with Charles Price in 1703 their own versions. It contained many newly engraved charts and a few inherited from John Seller. This partnership was dissolved in 1705 and the stock was acquired by Mount and Page. This was timely as they had lost access to the Thornton plates following his death in 1707-08.
Richard Mount (1654-1722) was apprenticed to William Fisher above and married his daughter Sarah in 1682. Two years later Fisher and Mount formed a partnership. Their early sea atlas publications like their competitors were similarly entitled and included the 'Atlas Maritimus'. Mount's own apprentice Thomas Page (d.1733) joined him in 1698. One of their earliest publications is the 'Atlas Maritimus Novus' in 1702 published in a further edition in 1708. Only two examples of the first edition can be traced; the Library of Congress and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Quite soon, possibly sometime after Samuel Thornton's death in 1715 when they judiciously acquired his stock of plates, it appears a new plate was introduced. This bears slightly different wording in the title. Thus began the long maritime publishing history of the firm Mount and Page. Richard Mount was born in 1654 and died 29 June 1722 after being kicked in the leg by a cart horse on London Bridge.