Fantastic nautical chart of the northern coast of Scotland, up to North Ronaldsay, with water depths, directions of currents, and extensive notes.
An inset map shows Holm and Water Sounds and Riddock Shoal is described as a recently formed and discovered shoal in the western approaches to Scapa Flow. Pentland Firth's tidal races, along with the various hazards they create—whirlpools and eddies—are noted.
Long used as a safe harbor, Scapa Flow most prominently served as a naval base during both World Wars. In 1919, it became the site of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet, where 52 of the 74 vessels, interned under the terms of the Armistice, were successfully and intentionally sank. The end of World War II brought the completion of the Churchill Barriers, intended as naval defenses and since serving as road links between the Orkney Mainland, South Ronaldsay, Burray (Burray), Lambs Holm (Laman), and Glimps Holm (Glimsholm).
Robert Laurie (ca. 1755-1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) formed their Fleet Street, London-based firm upon the 1794 death of their employer Robert Sayer, himself one of the dominant print and mapmakers of the last half of the 18th century.
Laurie & Whittle started managing Sayer's business as early as 1787. They took over all managerial duties when Sayer's health flagged in 1792, and they changed the imprint in 1794 upon his death. Sayer left the two a 21-year lease on the shop (at £100 a year) and on Sayer's Bolt Court premises, as well as an option to acquire stock and equipment at a preferential price of £5,000 payable over three years.
Robert Laurie retired from the firm in 1812, and his role was assumed by his son, Richard Holmes Laurie (1777-1858). The younger Laurie worked with James Whittle until the latter died in 1818. After R. H. Laurie died in 1858, Alexander George Findlay, FRGS (1812-1875) purchased the firm from his daughters. The firm continues today under another name, specializing in yachting charts.
Laurie & Whittle were prolific print and map publishers, and throughout their careers, they produced numerous very important and rare works. They carried on Robert Sayer's atlas business and were responsible for editions of The Complete East-India Pilot and The American Atlas.