Animals of the Middle Species -- Half Bird, Half Fish!
Rare 2-sheet wall map of South America, dedicated by Charles Price to Edmund Halley LLD Savilian Professor of Geometry in Oxford, and Fellow of the Royal Society, Corrected from his own Discoveries . . .
The map was first published by the partnership of Charles Price, John Senex and John Maxwell in 1708. After the partnership dissolved in 1711, Price retained this plate, but by 1713, it was being published by George Willdey & Timothy Brandreth. By the end of the year that partnership was also in tatters, accounting for the scarcity of this map.
The map is a remarkable compendium of geographical detail and contemporary explorations, noting a number of sea voyages in the southern waters of South America, including Sharp's return route in 1681, Sr. la Roche's Course in 1675, Magellan's course in 1520, Americus Vespuccio's course in 1502, and Halley's course in 1700. The region where Halley noted floating ice is identified.
To the left of the dedication cartouche, Price makes an observation concerning the sighting of a strange breed of animal:
The sea in these parts abounds with two sorts of Animalls, of a Middle Species between a Bird & a Fish, having necks like swans and swimming with their whole Bodyes always underwater only putting up their long necks for Air.
Within the map itself, there are a number of other interesting observations and annotations in English.
Charles Price (1679?-1733) was an engraver, instrument maker, and mapseller.
Price had been apprenticed to John Seller, famous mapmaker and father to Charles’ business partner, Jeremiah. In fact, Jeremiah and Charles were made free of the Merchant Taylors Guild on the same day, September 1, 1703. The two were already working together by then.
After breaking off with Seller, Price worked with John Senex (1705-10) and George Wildey (1710-13). He was still working in the 1720s, but was in Fleet Prison in 1731 for debt and died two years later.