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John Seller was one of the most notable map and instrument makers in England in the late-seventeenth century. He was especially known for the sea charts, many of which featured in his influential English Pilot and Atlas Maritimus. Seller was born in London in 1632. His father was a cordwainer and John was apprenticed to Edward Lowe, of the Merchant Taylors’ Company. He was made free of that company in 1654. Later, he also was made a brother of the Clockmakers’ Company, which housed several instrument makers. He started business as a compass maker but expanded his offering to include navigational instruments and charts.

Seller’s career was halted temporarily, and fantastically, when he was tried for high treason in 1662. He was accused of involvement in a plot led by Thomas Tonge. While Seller likely only unwisely repeated rumors, he was convicted. The other conspirators, who did admit some degree of guilt, were executed, but Seller maintained his innocence and, via insistent petitions, he eventually secured his release from Newgate Prison.

This episode did not seem to slow Seller’s rise too much, however. Seller was granted a royal license to publish English-language maritime atlases. This gave him a near-monopoly and led to his being named hydrographer to the King in 1671. Although the point of the project was to produce English charts of Dutch dominance and bias, Seller ended up using many Dutch plates as his base material. The first volume of The English Pilot was published in 1671, followed by more volumes as well as The Coating Pilot (1672) and the Atlas Maritimus (1675). Seller was commercially successful, but some of his projects required further support. The English Pilot was eventually taken over by John Thornton and William Fisher, for example, and his proposed English atlas only produced maps of six counties.

Seller’s sons, John and Jeremiah, followed in their father’s profession. Seller also apprenticed several promising young men, including Charles Price, with whom his sons partnered. Through Price, Seller can be seen as the founding figure of an important group of London mapmakers that included Price, John Senex, Emanuel Bowen, Thomas Kitchin, and Thomas Jefferys.

Place/Date:
London / 1672 circa
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
47376
Place/Date:
London / 1674
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
80520
Place/Date:
London / 1682 circa
Size:
5.75 x 4.25 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
69520
Place/Date:
London / 1684
Size:
6 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
0059dg
Place/Date:
London / 1690 circa
Size:
5.5 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
80663
Place/Date:
London / 1700 circa
Size:
4.5 x 4.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
71202

Archived

Place/Date:
London / 1672 circa
Size:
21.7 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
57347
Place/Date:
London / 1674
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
23476
Place/Date:
London / 1674
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
65405
Place/Date:
London / 1675
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
17049
Place/Date:
London / 1675 circa
Size:
20.5 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
35583
Place/Date:
London / 1675 circa
Size:
18 x 22.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
43107ct
Place/Date:
London / 1675 circa
Size:
21 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
43904
Place/Date:
London / 1675
Size:
20.5 x 16.7 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
61222
Place/Date:
London / 1677
Size:
6 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
0045dg
Place/Date:
London / 1677
Size:
5.5 x 5.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
54338
Place/Date:
London / 1682
Size:
5.5 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
1640
Place/Date:
London / 1682
Size:
5.5 x 4.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
33649
Place/Date:
London / 1684
Size:
6 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19242
Place/Date:
London / 1684
Size:
6 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
19224
Place/Date:
London / 1684
Size:
6 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
56896
Place/Date:
London / 1685
Size:
6 x 4.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
18770
Place/Date:
London / 1685
Size:
6 x 4.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
37721
Place/Date:
London / 1690 circa
Size:
5.5 x 5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
78535