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Rare separately issued two sheet map of the world in two hemispheres, published by Robert Sayer in London. Includes two polar projections and two celestial models in the corners, along with text embellishments. The routes of Dampier and Anson are shown on the map. Partial New Zealand and Australia shown. The West Coast of America is mapped in a manner which pre-dates Cook, but with a discussion of of the land seen in 1728 by Captain Spanberg and a reference to Tchirkow's discoveries in 1741. The River of the West appears, as do credits to Juan De Fuca's discoveries in 1598 and Martin d'Aguilar's discoveries in 1603. A fascinating note in the Arctic circle references the continual night which occurs during a part of the year. Along the NE Passage, the area where Heemskerk wintered in 1596 is shown. A key in the center gives the square miles for the oceans and each of the continents and various parts of the world. We struggled to date his map, but ultimately concluded it was most likely an early work by Sayer, who set up shop on Fleet Street at the Golden Buck in 1751 and continued through 1770, before partnering with John Bennett. The lack of references to later NW Coast discoveries was probably the best clue on the dating of the map. A nice example of this rare separately issued map.

Robert Sayer Biography

Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) was a prominent London map publisher. Robert’s father was a lawyer, but his older brother married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop after his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in early 1748, it passed to Robert. Robert became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December.

Sayer benefited from Overton’s considerable stock, which included the plates of John Senex. In the 1750s, Sayer specialized in design books and topographical prints, as well as comic mezzotints. In 1753, he, along with John Roque, published a new edition of Thomas Read’s Small British Atlas, the first of several county atlases that Sayer would publish.  

Sayer’s business continued to grow. In 1760 he moved further down Fleet Street to larger premises at 53 Fleet Street. In 1766, he acquired Thomas Jefferys’ stock when the latter went bankrupt. In 1774, he entered into a partnership with John Bennett, his former apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Jefferys. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade.

Bennett’s mental health declined, and the partnership ended in 1784. As Sayer aged, he relied on his employees Robert Laurie and James Whittle, who eventually succeeded him. He spent more and more time at his house in Richmond. In 1794, he died in Bath.