William Heather's Chart of the Region From the Chesapeake to Long Island
This large format sea chart embraces the coastlines from Virginia to New York City, with a large inset of New York Harbor.
Presented here in an edition issued during the War of 1812, it is one of the rarest and most high-quality maps of the region from its era. The map has been significantly updated from the original 1799 edition, with numerous annotations, improved coastal details and many additional place names.
The coastlines are very well delineated, based on scientific triangulated surveys, while the seas feature copious hydrographic information, including bathymetric soundings, shoals and ocean currents.
Among the sea charts of the region, in terms of its size and accuracy, Heather's chart far surpasses contemporary American charts by Matthew Clark, John Norman and Jonathan Price & John Strother.
William Heather (fl. 1765-1812) was among the most important English Sea Chart publishers of the 18th Century. Heather began his business in 1765 as a publisher and dealer of sea charts and nautical instruments near the offices of the East India Company, under the sign of the "Little Midshipman," where he succeeded the celebrated firm of Mount & Page. The business was later to become known as "the Naval Academy" and "Navigation Warehouse" and was referenced by Charles Dickens in Dombey and Son. In 1768, the business became "Heather & Williams" and remained so until Heather's death in 1812, when John William Norie, who had joined Heather in 1797 at age 25, became the proprietor.
The present example bears the imprint of "J. Norie, Teacher of Navigation Leadenhall Street, London," and was published by Heather on June 1st, 1812, and was likely a continuation sheet or companion to companion or continuation of William Heather's "A New Chart of America with the Harbors of New York, Boston &c."
This is the first example of the map we have seen on the market.
Provenance: Colonial Williamsburg, from the collection of William C. Wooldridge. Sold by Jeffrey S. Evans Auctioneers in January 2019.