Very rare English chart of Charella and the Strombulo Volcano, by Andrew Elton, in superb contemporary hand-color.
Copper-engraved sea chart showing the Stromboli Volcano and the Calabrian coastline.
This attractive chart depicts the anchorage of Charella along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast of Calabria, along with coastal profiles, in four parts, of the coast, running from 'Charella' to 'Palacastra'. However the most interesting aspect of the map is the profile view of the volcanic island of 'Strombulo' (Stromboli). Depicted in eruption, this nearly 3,000-foot tall mountain is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet.
At the top of the work, Elton describes the depicted stretch of the Calabrian coast in detail. He notes the mountains of Charella that "are to be seen a great way off at Sea" and notes the place where his ships picked up a large quantity of "Belvidera Fruit" to bring back to Britain. Enhancing the utility of the present chart, Elton warns that "The [local] People are not to be trusted".
Elton dedicated the chart to George Proctor (d.1744), the proprietor of Langley Estate, Norfolk, and a wealthy investor in overseas schemes.
We are aware of only two institutional holdings of Elton charts. The British Library holds examples of the sheets containing the charts of Corve & Zea; Livorno; Charella & Stromboli; Salonica; Naples; and Gallipoli, Lipari & Milazzo. The Richard M. Daly Library at the University of Illinois-Chicago holds the charts of Corve & Zea; Livorno; Charella & Stromboli; Salonica, Gallipoli, Lipari & Milazzo and Smyrna.
Andrew Elton, Junior (fl. 1715-42) was an English merchant mariner who specialized in trade between Britain and Italy and the Ottoman Empire. While clearly a successful businessman and gentleman of prominence, much of his biography remains a mystery. He was the son of Captain Andrew Elton, Senior (1647-1710), a privateer originally from Rotherhithe, Surrey (now in London). Elton Senior was given royal letters of marque, and primarily prayed on French ships in Newfoundland and the English Channel. He was captain of the Russell Galley from the 1695 until 1703, and then the Godfrey Galley until his death, which occurred off of Land's End while he was attempting to take a French ship.
Andrew Elton, Junior, inherited £150 from his father, and eventually the captaincy of the Godfrey Galley. As purchasing, maintaining and crewing such a vessel was extremely expensive, mariners such as Elton usually relied on investors to finance their endeavors, in return for a share of some of the expedition's profits. These inventors tended to be highly prominent figures, such as directors of charted trading companies and politicians, several of which are the named dedicates of Elton's charts. Unlike his father, who largely relied on privateering, Andrew Junior was principally concerned with mercantile trade. The first definitive reference to him concerns his donation of £15 towards the construction of the Parish Church of St. Mary's, Rotherhithe, which was completed in 1715 (E.J. Beck, Memorials to Serve for a History of the Parish of St. Mary, Rotherhithe, London, 1907, p.156).
Andrew Elton Junior was based in Deal, Kent for most of his career, and was known to be captain of at least four different ships. He was associated with the Levant Company (also called the Turkey Company), a royal chartered private syndicate that had held a monopoly on the English trade with the Ottoman Empire since 1580s. He also traded heavily with the port of Livorno (Leghorn), a key entrepot for goods from throughout the Mediterranean.
The first reference to Captain Elton Junior's maritime activities appears in The Post Boy, April 18, 1719, which notes that "Godfrey Galley, Capt. Elton" arrived into Deal "from Leghorn". From that point onwards until 1742, various newspaper announcements record Elton's visits to Livorno (numerous), Messina, Naples, Smyrna, Iskenderun and Alexandria. From 1719 to 1726, he was captain of the Godfrey Galley (and briefly in 1726 the Caesar Galley), while from 1726 to 1731 he was skipper of the Hadley Galley and then the Nile Galley from 1731 onwards. The latest definitive reference to Elton notes that he was an 'Annual Governor' (i.e. Benefactor) of the London Infirmary in 1742 (I. Maddox, The Duty and Advantages of Encouraging Public Infirmaries, London, 1743, p.34).
The engraver of Elton's charts , Bishop Roberts (d.1739), is best known for his historically important view of Charlestown, South Carolina. Roberts was evidently a highly-skilled engraver who seems to have specialized in heraldic devices, as evidenced by the fine arms and cartouches on Elton's charts. In 1728-9 he is recorded as working in London, having the engraver Henry Copeland as his apprentice. By 1733, he appears in New Jersey, where he fulfilled an engraving commission, and by 1735 he had moved to Charleston, South Carolina. Around 1738, he drafted a view of Charleston that is today considered to be one of the most important early records of the city. This view was subsequently published as An Exact Prospect of Charlestown, the Metropolis of the Province of South Carolina, in the London Magazine (1762).