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Rare 1711 edition of John Thornton's engraved chart of the Cape of Good Hope, published posthumously by his brother, Samuel Thornton.

The bottom image comprises a sea cart from Table Bay to False Bay with superimposed coastal profiles. Above that is an attractive view of Table Bay, naming the important topographic features and showing a fleet at anchor. An inset image shows the Dutch fort. Natives in traditional clothes stand next to the cartouche.

An important English chart from the earlier period of Dutch colonization; more than 80 years before the British would take it in 1795.


In 1703 John Thronton redrew an earlier design by John Seller ( our+number+1009 ) on a new plate. He eliminated Saldanha Bay at the 'Entrance to Saldina (sic) Bay'; named Coney (i.e. Dassen) Island; changed Saldinia Bay to Table Bay, and added a key (A-P); this map is plate 78 in Tooley.

In 1711, Samuel Thornton replaced his brother's name in the title with his own;

In 1734, Bay of Falso and two annotations in the bay were added, but the Thornton imprint was deleted. The chart also was published in English Pilot V in 1743 & 1761.

In circa 1739, Mount and Page returned to Seller's original (1675) plate but deleted the Seller imprint.

Samuel Thornton Biography

John Thornton was a respected and prominent chartmaker in London in the latter part of the seventeenth century. He was one of the final members of the Thames School of chartmakers and served as the hydrographer to the Hudson's Bay Company and the East India Company. He produced a large variety of printed charts, maps, and atlases in his career, but he was also a renowned manuscript chart maker. Born in London in 1641, he was apprenticed in the Drapers Company to a chartmaker, John Burston. After being made free of the company (1665), he was part of the combine that took over John Seller’ English Pilot in 1677. Thornton was trusted by the naval and navigational establishment of the day; one of his clients was Samuel Pepys, naval administrator and diarist. Thornton died in 1708, leaving his stock to his son, Samuel, who carried on the business.

Samuel, born in ca. 1665, also had apprenticed in the Drapers Company and was made free a year after his father’s death. He continued the business until 1715, when he died. His stock then passed to Richard Mount and Thomas Page.