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Description

Rare sea chart of a portion of the Spanish, French and Italian Mediterranean coastline, which appeared in Charles Price's Atlas maritimus, or, A new sea atlas, published in London in 1732.

A remarkable rarity, the chart was apparently prepared for inclusion in a sea atlas planned by Charles Price, which was still not completed at the time he went to Debtor's prision in 1731. In fact, the atlas was so rare that there are no known examples in British Institutions, although a single example survives in the Bancroft Library, plus the example of the atlas which we acquired in 1732 (from which this illustration is drawn -- the atlas was intact, with 25 charts and a title page).

As noted by Tony Campbell in his description of the British Library's acquisition of a 21 chart collection of maps without title page in the early 1980s, by 1730, Charles Price had announced his intention to publish "a Compleat Sea Atlas"  to remedy 'the Great want of a good sett of Sea Charts now extant in Great Britain (excepting for our own Coasts)."  It was believed that the project was not completed, as Price was believed to have sold off his charts by 1731 and ended 1731 in debtor's prison.  However, the title page of this map shows that the project was in fact completed to the point of selling a collection of maps with the Atlas Maritimus title page, although neither of the two surviving examples included an index page.  

The information noted by Tony Campbell above was drawn from an advertisement on one of the maps.  This is the only note we can locate regarding Price's Sea Atlas, with the exception of an entry written in 1780 by William Gough in his British Topography. Or, An Historical Account of what Has Been Done for Illustrating The Topographical Antiquities of Great Britain and Ireland (1780) at page 112, wherein Gough notes:

Charles Price seems to have engraved a set of English charts, 1726—30. A correct chart of the sea-coast from Arundel in Sussex, to St. Alban's in Dorsetshire. I have two, one dedicated to lord Masham, 1729; another to Thomas Jones, esq; one of the Chanel, and of Scilly islands. He advertised proposals for engraving a compleat sea Atlas for the whole world, dedicated to capt. G. Rogers j to be sold at his shop in Westminster-hall.

Rarity

The map is unrecorded, although we note a single example in the only other known example of Price's Atlas Maritimus, at the Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley).    Later copy located with Mount & Page imprint -- Biblioteca Nacional de España.

Charles Price Biography

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.

He is known to have published in 1732  his Atlas Maritimus or, a new Sea Atlas . . .  This work contains maps dated 1728 and 1731.  We locate at single example (Bancroft Library - 30 maps) and we acquired an example in 2018 (25 maps).  It is quite likely that the work was an unfinished composite, as a number of the maps have blank spaces in the titles, in anticipation of dedicatees that were apparently never obtained.  The atlas was known to have been started, but not completed, as noted by Tony Campbell in the British Library Journal, recording the acquisition by the British Library of an untitled collection of charts by Price:

Price, Charles. [A set of English charts of the coasts of the British Isles and Europe, together with Hispaniola, engraved by Charles Price.] London: Charles Price , IV.1730].

Twenty-one charts, 50 cm.

An unrecorded collection without title-page, with a note on one chart announcing the author's intention of publishing 'a Compleat Sea Atlas', to remedy 'the Great want of a good sett of Sea Charts now extant in Great Britain (excepting for our own Coasts)'. The project proceeded no further.

By 1731 Price had to sell off his charts cheaply, and he ended the year in the Fleet Prison. Many of the charts are based on those of Greenville Collins and most are dated 1729 or 1730.

The named collaborators were teachers of mathematics, or, like Price, mathematical instrument makers.

Maps C.8.b.i