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Stock# 49238
Description

Nice example of this fine 4-sheet map of Europe, based upon the most recent information and with extensive annotations.

Includes extensive text and tables on either side of the map.

A line of flags of European nations is shown across the bottom of the map.

The map has been revised and updated by Laurie & Whittle.

Laurie & Whittle

Robert Laurie (ca. 1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) formed their Fleet Street, London-based firm upon the 1794 death of their employer Robert Sayer, himself one of the dominant print and mapmakers of the last half of the 18th century.

Laurie & Whittle started managing Sayer's business as early as 1787. They took over all managerial duties when Sayer's health flagged in 1792, and they changed the imprint in 1794 upon his death. Sayer left the two a 21-year lease on the shop (at £100 a year) and on Sayer's Bolt Court premises, as well as an option to acquire stock and equipment at a preferential price of £5,000 payable over three years.

Robert Laurie retired from the firm in 1812, and his role was assumed by his son, Richard Holmes Laurie (1777-1858). The younger Laurie worked with James Whittle until the latter died in 1818. After R. H. Laurie died in 1858, Alexander George Findlay, FRGS (1812-1875) purchased the firm from his daughters. The firm continues today under another name, specializing in yachting charts.

Laurie & Whittle were prolific print and map publishers, and throughout their careers, they produced numerous very important and rare works. They carried on Robert Sayer's atlas business and were responsible for editions of The Complete East-India Pilot and The American Atlas.

A General Atlas, describing the Whole Universe [1797]

This map comes from Thomas Kitchin's A General Atlas. This atlas was conceived of by Thomas Jefferys in the 1760s. Following Jefferys' bankruptcy in 1766, the atlas was first completed by Robert Sayer in 1773. This was Robert Sayer's first terrestrial atlas. From 1794 the atlas was published by his successors Laurie & Whittle. Later editions tend to be more desirable. Thomas Kitchin's name appears on title pages even after his death in 1784. The maps are after a variety of makers such as d'Anville, Roberts, Dunn, Rocque, Delarochette, Rennell, Zannoni, Dury, Cook, Vancouver, Perouse and others.

This map is from the 1797 edition of the atlas. This atlas was later expanded and replaced by Laurie & Whittle's A New Universal Atlas.

Condition Description
4-sheet map, joined as 2. Minor offsetting.
Robert Sayer Biography

Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) was a prominent London map publisher. Robert’s father was a lawyer, but his older brother married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop after his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in early 1748, it passed to Robert. Robert became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December.

Sayer benefited from Overton’s considerable stock, which included the plates of John Senex. In the 1750s, Sayer specialized in design books and topographical prints, as well as comic mezzotints. In 1753, he, along with John Roque, published a new edition of Thomas Read’s Small British Atlas, the first of several county atlases that Sayer would publish.  

Sayer’s business continued to grow. In 1760 he moved further down Fleet Street to larger premises at 53 Fleet Street. In 1766, he acquired Thomas Jefferys’ stock when the latter went bankrupt. In 1774, he entered into a partnership with John Bennett, his former apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Jefferys. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade.

Bennett’s mental health declined, and the partnership ended in 1784. As Sayer aged, he relied on his employees Robert Laurie and James Whittle, who eventually succeeded him. He spent more and more time at his house in Richmond. In 1794, he died in Bath.