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Full original color example of southeastern quadrant (1st State!), from Aaron Arrowsmith's rare 8-sheet map of the East Indies, dated 1799.

The map is richly annotated with both important navigational details and historical notes, including notes of discovery dating to the 17th Century. The map also includes a number of soundings, some of which include the name and date of the expedition which generated the information.

Among other details, the map tracks the route of Captain Cook in 1770 from south of Papua New Guinea toward the Indian Ocean and a number of ships, including

  • The Henry Dundas in 1790 (Borneo Coast)
  • The Jason in 1771 (Borneo Coast)
  • Captain Hunter 1791 ( HMS Sirius, Captain John Hunter, later 2nd Governor of New South Wales )
  • Warren Hastings in 1787
  • The Glatton in 1787
  • Marquis Cornwallis in 1797
  • Addington 1797
  • Cuffnell 1797
  • Pocock 1761
  • French Frigate la Colombe in 1755
  • Tartar Gally 1774.
  • Panther and Endeavor in 1790
  • Captain Cateret 1767

The map includes a highly modern and detailed treatment of Borneo, Celebes, Papua New Guinea, Timor, etc. A number of regions would be extensively reworked in the later editions of the map, most notably:

  • The northern coastline of Celebes
  • The eastern part of Sumbawa
  • The northern coast of Timor

The first state of this chart is very rare on the market, making the present southeastern quadrant an excellent opportunity for regional collectors.

Condition Description
Minor dampstaining.
Aaron Arrowsmith Biography

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.