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Rare plan of San Francisco Bay, based upon a Spanish Manuscript map and the extremely rare Alexander Dalrymple Chart of 1789.

Jake Zeitlin, the venerable Los Angeles Bookseller of the early and mid 20th Century reported that he had been told that the map was published by Arrowsmith in London. The quality of the paper and engraving certainly suggest that this is possible.

The original manuscript chart from which the map derives was made about 1785, most likely by Josef Camacho, whosse Plano del Puerto of 1779 and Pedaso de la California of 1785 are likely sources for the map. The manuscript, in turn, is drawn from Jose de Canizares bay cahrt of 1776. Dalrymple obtained a manuscript copy from John Henry Cox, and Englishman based in China, who was part of the Northwest Fur Trade. Similar maps were issued in French and English by La Perouse, this map being produced on the occasion of Mexico's independence from Spain.

The map is exceedingly rare, this being the first example we have ever seen.

An essential map for San Francisco Collectors.

Condition Description
Marginal tear, far from the printed image and some minor foxing in the image and some soiling in the margins, again far from the printed images. 4.5 inch margins!
. Harlow #18
John Arrowsmith Biography

The Arrowsmiths were a cartographic dynasty which operated from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth. The family business was founded by Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), who was renowned for carefully prepared and meticulously updated maps, globes, and charts. He created many maps that covered multiple sheets and which were massive in total size. His spare yet exacting style was recognized around the world and mapmakers from other countries, especially the young country of the United States, sought his maps and charts as exemplars for their own work.

Aaron Arrowsmith was born in County Durham in 1750. He came to London for work around 1770, where he found employment as a surveyor for the city’s mapmakers. By 1790, he had set up his own shop which specialized in general charts. Arrowsmith had five premises in his career, most of which were located on or near Soho Square, a neighborhood the led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Joseph Banks, the naturalist, and Matthew Flinders, the hydrographer.

Through his business ties and employment at the Hydrographic Office, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and others entities. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King.

Aaron Arrowsmith died in 1823, whereby the business and title of Hydrographer to the King passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John. Aaron Jr. (1802-1854) was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and left the family business in 1832; instead, he enrolled at Oxford to study to become a minister. Samuel (1805-1839) joined Aaron as a partner in the business and they traded together until Aaron left for the ministry. Samuel died at age 34 in 1839; his brother presided over his funeral. The remaining stock and copper plates were bought at auction by John Arrowsmith, their cousin.

John (1790-1873) operated his own independent business after his uncle, Aaron Arrowsmith Sr., died. After 1839, John moved into the Soho premises of his uncle and cousins. John enjoyed considerable recognition in the geography and exploration community. Like Aaron Jr., John was a founder member of the RGS and would serve as its unofficial cartographer for 43 years. Several geographical features in Australia and Canada are named after him. He carried the title Hydrographer to Queen Victoria. He died in 1873 and the majority of his stock was eventually bought by Edward Stanford, who co-founded Stanford’s map shop, which is still open in Covent Garden, London today.