Handsome large-format engraved map of Florida, the Gulf Coast, Central America, and the Caribbean, published by Laurie & Whittle in London in 1794.
The map stretches from the Lesser Antilles in the east to the tip of Baja California in the west. In the north, East and West Florida are shown. Interestingly, the U.S. appears to have claim to Louisiana, suggesting either an error on the part of the colorist or that this example was issued after the Louisiana Purchase, which is also possible.
A key locates the various colonial possessions by color; these include British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish (St. Barts) colonies.
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.