Published by Robert Laurie and James Whittle in 1794, this chart delineates the Straits of Sunda, situated between the islands of Sumatra and Java.
The map shows the island of Krakatoa ("I. Cracatoa") before it was massively transformed by its catastrophic volcanic eruption in 1883.
An inset at the bottom showcases a closer plan of the Mew Bay or Canty Bay on Java's western coast, reflecting the with which mariners of the time mapped and understood these pivotal maritime routes.
The Straits of Sunda was one of the most important waterways in the world in the 18th century, as it was a critical route from the wider Indian Ocean to the Spice Islands.
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.