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The First Large British Chart of the Straits of Malaca, Singapore, etc.

Rare Laurie & Whittle Chart of the Straits of Malacca, published in 1802 in London.

Pre-dating the establishment of the Straits Settlement and the rise of British influence in the region, the chart is the first large format separately issued English Language charting of the Straits, based upon British sources, pre-dating even publication of James Horsburgh's charts of the region and Alexander Dalrymple's Chart of the Straits of Sinkapoura . . . (January 5, 1805).

This remarkable sea chart includes insets of:

  • The Straits of Sincapore on a larger scale
  • The Passage From Poolo Iarra To Cape Rachado on a larger Scale

There are also a number of profile views illustrating important sections of coastline, .etc. An extraordinary large format separately issued navigational chart, based upon British Surveys undertaken by

  • Alexander Black
  • John Reford
  • James Horsburgh
  • GG Richardson
  • John Lindsay

This chart would remain a working chart of great importance, issued and used for decades to follow.

The Chart is of the utmost rarity. OCLC locates an example in the British Library. We also note a copy held by the State Library of New South Wales.

Condition Description
Several minor tears and fold splits, expertly repaired on verso.
James Whittle Biography

James Whittle (1757-1818) was a British engraver and map printer. Whittle was employed by Robert Sayer (ca. 1725-1794). Together with Robert Laurie (1755?-1836), he took on Sayer’s business when the older man died in 1794. The two traded together as Laurie & Whittle until 1812, when Laurie retired. They had specialized in sea charts and maritime atlases. Whittle then partnered with Laurie’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, until he died in 1818.

Robert Laurie Biography

Robert Laurie (1755?-1836) was a British engraver and printseller who specialized in engraving portraits and in publishing maritime charts. His family originated in Dumfriesshire. As a young man he came to London and was apprenticed to Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) in 1770. He received several awards in the 1770s for his mezzotint engraving and printing. He worked for Sayer as apprentice, assistant, and later partner.

In 1794, when Sayer died, Laurie took on his business alongside James Whittle, his fellow Sayer employee. Laurie managed the business and ceased almost all engraving. Instead, he oversaw the prodigious output of printed materials, especially sea charts and maritime atlases. He retired in 1812.

Laurie’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, took over his part of the business and continued in business as Whittle & Laurie, rather than the previous Laurie & Whittle. Whittle died in 1818, leaving Richard as the sold proprietor of the business. Robert died in 1836 in Hertfordshire.