Finely executed sea chart of False Bay and the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, published in London by Norie.
The chart was prepared by Peter W. Gawthorpe, based upon instructions from Rear Admiral Robert Stopford on June 1, 1812 as follows
Letter from REAR ADMIRAL STOPFORD to J. W. CROKER, Esq.RE.
Lion IN SIMON's BAY, June 1st 1812.
SIR,-You will be pleased to inform my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that with a view of ascertaining the exact position of the numerous shoals in False Bay, under the idea of Simon's Bay becoming the principal rendezvous upon this station, I have directed Mr. Peter W. Gawthorpe, the Master of the Lion, who has passed his examination as a surveyor at the Hydrographer's Office at the Admiralty, to embark on board the Atlanta Transport for the purpose abovementioned, and that he has already made some progress in the Survey.
The Beacon which was placed last year upon a dangerous shoal in that Bay called the Whittle has been washed away in a late gale of Wind. I have etc.
(Signed) ROBERT STOPFORD, Rear Admiral.
The chart extends from Robben Islands south to the Cape of Good Hope and False Cape, including Rocky Bank. False Bay and the Promontory of the Cape.
In the vicinity of Cape Town, Gawthorpe's chart extends into the interior, noting numerous private land owners, along the various rivers between Table Bay and False Bay. An inset of Simon's Bay appears in the upper right, near the title area, with important buildings identified. Nighttime sailing directions into Table Bay appear in the upper left. There is an illustration of the lighthouse at Green Point. The map is further embellished by four land profiles.
Below is a broader chart of Cape Colony extending from the Cape District in the west to Cape Morgan and the Sandy Point or 'First Point of Natal.' The chart extends inland to show major mountains, roads, and riverways. Some town are noted, among the De Beer Valley, Somerset, various forts, 'Gaikas Residence,' Zwellendam, Worchester, Setllenbosch, Caledon, and more.
OCLC locates a single example (1837 edition, State Library of Victoria).
The chart is rare on the market. We locate no dealer or auction records, other than an 1860 example of the chart.
John William Norie (1772 – 1843) was a publisher of nautical books held in high regard by his contemporaries. He also specialized in nautical charts and was a mathematician. Norie was born in Wapping, London, the eldest of eight children.
Norie had an apptitude for navigation and chart making. His first work was published in 1796, The Description and Use of Hadley's Quadrant, by William Heather, a chart and instrument seller. Heather then took Norie on as a chart maker and allowed him to run a nautical academy out of Heather's premises on Leadenhall Street. He continued to work for Heather, working out of his shop.
Norie published many works, but the most famous were A Complete Set of Nautical Tables (1803) and the Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805). Both were reissued throughout the nineteenth century, usually together. The Tables are still issued today. The Epitome became the standard work on navigation; it was so famous that authors C. S. Forester and Jack London both mention the book in their fiction. In addition to the Epitome, Norie wrote the The shipwright's vade-mecum (1822), Plates Descriptive of the Maritime Flags of All Nations (1838), and The naval gazetteer, biographer, and chronologist; new and improved (1842). He also provided pilots with charts that covered practically the entire world's seas--the famous blue-back charts.
Norie partnered with a financial backer, George Wilson, to buy Heather's business upon Heather's death in 1813. In addition to the nautical academy and the copyright to his books, Norie prospered from the growing business, which he managed. The shop, operating under the sign of the Wooden Midshipman, was called the Navigation Warehouse. It featured in Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son.
Norie retired in 1840. He sold his shares in the business and moved to Edinburgh. He died there, at the age of 71, on Christmas Eve 1843. His company was renamed Norie & Wilson after his retirement. In 1903, the firm merged with rivals and became Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson. It is still in business today.