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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.


Archived

Place/Date:
London / 1832
Size:
20 x 26.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
63725
Place/Date:
London / 1840
Size:
20 x 26.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
64961
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 26.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
65441
Place/Date:
London / 1851
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
35149
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
28 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57215
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
10 x 8 inches (each)
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
24931
Place/Date:
London / 1854
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57526
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
98030u
Place/Date:
London / 1850
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57951
Place/Date:
London / 1864
Size:
18 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
64967
Place/Date:
London / 1842 circa
Size:
24 x 19.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
38536pb
Place/Date:
London / 1854
Size:
24 x 19.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57561
Place/Date:
London / 1832
Size:
19 x 23.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
64137
Place/Date:
London / 1832
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
65065
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
68234
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58358
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58332
Place/Date:
London / 1840
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
65002
Place/Date:
London / 1840
Size:
23.5 x 19 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
68147
Place/Date:
London / 1840
Size:
23.5 x 19 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
71935
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
98030w
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57987
Place/Date:
London / 1858
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
65298
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67313
Place/Date:
London / 1840
Size:
20 x 23.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
72146
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
10 x 8 inches (each)
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
25034
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
10 x 8 inches (each)
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
25971
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
58110
Place/Date:
London / 1840
Size:
20 x 23.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
65133
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 23.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
67900
Place/Date:
London / 1851
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
57969
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
24 x 20 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
98030x
Place/Date:
London / 1842
Size:
20 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
57020pb
Place/Date:
London / 1857
Size:
20 x 24.5 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
64576
Place/Date:
London / 1832
Size:
20.5 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
67054