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Rare sea chart of the west coast of Madgascar, showing the Bays of Saint Augustin and Tullea (Tulear) Bay, published in London by Laurie & Whittle.

The chart covers part of the modern day Atsimo-Andrefana Region from Toliara to Saint Augustin and Soalara in the district of Toliara II. The mouth of the Darmouth or Onilahy River is also noted. The map also includes 5 profile views, showing approaches to the harbors.

This map was based on the surveys in 1755 and 1768 and was published by Laurie and Whittle. The chart would have been issued both separately and in one of several very rare atlases published by Laurie & Whittle, covering the route from England to China and Australia, with primary focus on the coastal regions of the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the South China Sea and China Sea, issued between approximately 1794 and 1810.

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.