Charles Price’s rare Maritime Atlas

By PRICE, Charles, 1732 

Atlas Maritimus or New Sea Atlas Describing the Coasts, Ports, Harbours, Bays, Roads, Rivers, Rocks, Sands, Buoys, Beacons, Sea-Marks, Depth of Water, Bearings and Distances from Place to Place, the Setting and Flowing of the Tides, Currents, Trade-Winds, Monsoons, &c. with an Exact Representation of the most Principal Lands, and Directions for the Knowing of any Place, and how to Harbour a Ship in the same Safety, in all The Known Parts of the Globe, According to the best observations and latest discoveries of the ablest navigators.

World
  • Author: PRICE, Charles
  • Publication place: London, Bristol, Liverpool, and Dublin
  • Publisher: Printed by T. Gover: and sold by J. Atkinson at the Cherry-Garden-Stairs, in Rotherith; J. Eades, at King Edward’s-Stairs, Wapping; B. Macy, at the Hermitage-Brdge; J. Clarke, Bookseller, at the Exchange, T. Heath, Mathematical Instrument-Maker, next the Fountain-Tavern, in the Strand; M. Penn, Bookseller in Bristol; J. Anzdal, Bookseller, in Liverpool; and G. Grierson, Bookseller, in Dublin
  • Publication date: 1732.
  • Physical description: Folio, (515 by 330mm), title page, and 25 double-page engraved charts, of which 14 are in fine original outline colour, some dust soiling, four charts trimmed to within upper neatline, and two within upper and lower neatline, lower right corner of title page skilfully repaired in facsimile, eighteenth century English panelled calf to style.
  • Inventory reference: 14861

Notes

The second extant example of Charles Price’s Atlas Maritimus’.

History of the atlas

In 1729, Charles Price published a chart of the English Channel, which included a large note advertising his intention to publish a new sea atlas of the whole world:

The Great want of a good sett of Sea Charts those now extant in Great Britain (excepting for our own Coasts) being mostly taken from old Dutch Waggoners &c. put me for some years past upon Collecting all the Observations I could for Engraving and Printing A Compleat Sea Atlas containing (besides General Charts) exact Descriptions of all the Coasts, Ports and Harbours in the known World with the full Directions for Sailing into and out of them, Of their Produce and Manufacture, Imports and Exports &c. The whole will be Engraved upon Copper and will contain two hundred and fifty sheets of the same size with this and each Chart as finished will be published and sold by the Author”.

This hugely ambitious project would never be realised in full, as by December 1731 Price was in Fleet Prison for debt. By the time Price died in January 1733, only 30 charts and maps had been engraved, many of which lacked dedicatees or chart numbers, and seven of which bear no imprint. The remaining 23 charts contain numerous bookseller, and instrument maker imprints, these include: J. Atkinson, Cherry-Garden-Stairs, in Rotherhide, London; J. Eades, at King Edward’s-Stairs, Wapping, London; B. Macy, at the Hermitage-Bridge, London; J. Clarke, bookseller, at the Exchange, London, T. Heath, mathematical instrument maker, next the Fountain-Tavern, in the Strand, London; Mrs Penn, bookseller, Bristol. A further two names appear on the title-page: the booksellers J. Anzdal, in Liverpool, and G. Grierson in Dublin.

The lack of dedicatees, and the numerous and varied imprints on the charts, reinforces the impression that the atlas was rushed to market, most likely in order to recoup some of the money that Price owed. Whether the other sellers were part of a consortium, put together before or after Price’s bankruptcy, to pay down his debts, is unclear. Whatever the motive for the publication of the atlas, it was evidently not a success, with only one other known extant example bearing a title-page.

The first 15 charts cover the English and Irish coast, and are based on the work of Greenville Collins; the next six charts depict Europe’s western coast and the Mediterranean; with the last four charts depicting the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern coast of north and south America.

Rarity

The only other example to bear a title-page is housed in the University of California, Berkeley. Bound in English panelled calf, the atlas contains 29 charts on 30 sheets (the chart of the Mediterranean is on two sheets). The Berkeley atlas includes five charts not present in the current atlas:

1. A Correct Chart of Hispaniola…’, (1730).
2. A Correct Chart of Savoy and Genoa…’, (1732).
3. A Correct Chart of the Mediterranean…’, (1730).
4. [The Thames Estuary], (1730).
5. A New Chart of the Bahama Islands’, [1731].

A further group of Charles Price charts was acquired by the British Library in the early 1980s. The BL group has 21 charts, but lacks the title-page, present both here and in the Berkeley example. There is one chart unique to the present atlas: A Correct Chart of the Coast of Portugal’, (1731).

Biography

Charles Price (1679–1733) was apprenticed to John Seller, the father of English sea atlas publishing, in February 1694. He was made free on 1 September 1703, on the same day as John Seller’s son Jeremiah Seller. He worked in partnership with Jeremiah Seller (1700–1705), with John Senex (1705–1710), with George Wildey (1710–1713), and with instrument maker Benjamin Scott (1715–1718). In 1727, he announced that work would begin on a general atlas for sea and land”. In 1729, on his chart of the English Channel, he advertised for A Compleat Sea Atlas” (the present work), which would cover the whole world and contain some 250 charts. Only 31 charts are known to have been published by Price before he was confined to the Fleet Prison for debt in December 1731. He continued to advertise his work at a reduced price for ready money… ill fortune and ill usage has constrain’d me to sell my goods at this cheap rate”. He died early in 1733, leaving his stock equally to his son Charles, his daughter Ann, and his wife Elizabeth.

Contents

1. PRICE, Charles [Chart of the East Coast of England from Rye to Edinburgh Firth] To Coulson Fellowes Esqr. of Eggesford in Devonshire this Chart is humbly Dedicated & Presented by his most obliged Servant Cha: Price. Sold by Heath, and Fowler. [c1732]. Original outline colour. Same state as Berkeley and BL.

2. PRICE, Charles. The Harbour of Harwick Humbly Dedicated & Presented to _ by C. Price. Sold by Heath, Clark, Atkinson, & Penn [c1732]. Original outline colour. Same state as Berkeley and BL. Lacks dedicatee.

3. [PRICE, Charles]. A Correct Chart of Yarmouth Roads. No imprint [c1732]. Same state as Berkeley and BL.

4. PRICE, Charles. A correct Chart of the River Humber from the Spurn to Hull Humbly Dedicated & Presented to _ by C. Price. Sold by Heath, Clark, Atkinson, and Penn. Same state as Berkeley and BL. Original outline colour. Lacks dedicatee.

5. PRICE, Charles. [Chart of the English Channel] To the Rt Honourable Samuel Ld Masham Baron of Oates in Essex this Chart is humbly Dedicated by his Lordships most Obliged & Obedient Servant C. Price 1729. Same state as Berkeley and BL. Inset with Price’s proposal for the complete atlas.

6. PRICE, Charles. Sunderland, River Tyne, Blyth and Cocket Isle by C. Price Hydrographer to the King 1730. Sold by Atkinson, Eades, Rossey, and Heath. Same state as Berkeley and BL.

7. PRICE, Charles. To the Rt. Honourable Humfrey Parsons Esqr. Lord Mayor of London and one of Her Representatives in Parliament. This Chart of the Downs is Humbly Dedicated and Presented by his most Obedient Servant C. Price Hydrographer to the King. 1730. Sold by Atkinson, Eades, Rossey, Clark, and Heath. Original outline hand-colour. Same state as Berkeley and BL.

8. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Map of the County of Sussex Humbly Dedicated to _ by Cha: Price. Sold by Chilcot, Heath, Clark, and Penn. [c1732]. Same state as Berkeley, not present in BL copy.

9. [PRICE, Charles]. A correct chart of the Sea from Arundel in Sussex to St Albans in Dorset. No imprint [c1732]. Same state as BL, Berkeley possibly later state with dedication to Atkinson and imprints of Heath and Clark. Original outline hand-colour.

10. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of Scilly Islands Humbly Dedicated & Presented _ by Cha. Price 1730. Sold by Heath, Clark, Atkison, and Penn. Same state as Berkeley and BL.

11. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of St. Georges Channel, humbly Dedicated and Presented to Sr. Thomas Jones Kt., by his Obliged Servt., Cha: Price. Sold by Heath, Clark, and Atkinson, [c1732]. Original outline hand-colour. Same state as BL and Berkeley.

12. PRICE, Charles. Bristol Channel from the Holmes to King Road, including ye River Avon, Dedicated and Presented to Mr Samuel Workman Teacher of ye Mathematicks at Bristol by C.h. Price. Sold by Heath, Clark, Atkinson, and Penn. [c1732]. Same imprint as Berkeley and BL.

13. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of the Harbours of Chester and Liverpool Humbly Dedicated & Presented to Joseph Taylor Esq. member of ye Honourable House of Commons by his most Obliged Servt. C. Price. 1730. Sold by Heath, Clark, Atkinson, and Penn. Original outline hand-colour. Same state as BL and Berkeley.

14. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of the City and Harbour of Dublin Humbly Dedicated to _ by Cha: Price 1730. Sold by Heath, Clark, Atkinson, and Penn. Same state as Berkeley and BL. Original outline hand-colour.

15. PRICE, Charles. [Kingsale Harbour]. To Thomas Winnington Esqr. of Stamtford Court Recorder of Worcester & Member of the Honourable House of Commons. This Chart is Humbly Dedicated by his Obliged Servt. C. Price. No imprints. [c1732]. Same state as BL and Berkeley. Original outline colour.

16. PRICE, Charles. [Western coasts of France, Spain and Portugal] To Martin Fellowes Esqr. this Chart is Humbly Dedicated and Presented by his Obliged and Obedient Servant Cha: Price 1729. Sold by Heath, Clark, and Atkinson. [c1732]. Same imprint as BL, Berkeley earlier state lacking imprint of Heath etc.

17. PRICE, Charles. [Gibraltar Bay] To John Barnard Esqr. Alderman of London and one of its representatives in Parliament this Chart is Humbly Dedicated & Presented by Cha: Price. No imprint [c1732]. Same state as Berkeley and BL. Original outline hand-colour.

18. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of the Coasts of Spain From Cartagene to Denia, also of Barbarie from C. Falcon to C. Te Delle, According to the Curious Survey of Messrs Michelot & Bremont, Pilots to the Royal Gallys of France. Humbly Dedicated to Sr. Gilbert Heathcote Knight & Senior Alderman of London By his Obliged Servant C. Price. 1732. No imprint. Not present in BL, same state as Berkeley.

19. PRICE, Charles. [Approaches to Land’s End] To Capt. George Rogers of Hammersmith this Chart is humbly Dedicated and Presented by his Obliged Servant Cha. Price 1729. Sold by Heath. [c1732]. Same state as BL and Berkeley. Original outline hand-colour.

20. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of Catalonia Valencia & Murcia with the Islands Mayorca, Minorca, & Yuica. By Charles Price Hydrographer to the King. 1730. Sold by Atkinson, Eades, Heath, and Penn. Same imprint as Berkeley. Not in BL.

21. PRICE, Charles. The Coast of Roussillon, Languedoc, & Provence By C. Price, 1730. No imprint. Same state as Berkeley and BL.

22. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of the Western Ocean according to Mercator’s Projection Most humbly Dedicated to Sr. John Frederick Bart. of Hampton in Middlesex. By his most Obliged Servant Cha: Price 1728. Imprint of Heath and Fowler. Same state as Berkeley not in BL. Original outline hand-colour.

23. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of the Coast of Portugal, & Barbaria from C. Finisterra to C. Baydor. With the Canarie Isles. Humbly Dedicated to Robert Godscall of Weston Esqr. by his Obliged Servant C. Price near Strand Bridge in The Strand. 1731. Sold by Atkinson, Heath, Clark, Macy, Eades, and Penn. Not present in either BL or Berkeley example.

24. PRICE, Charles. A New Generall Chart of the Coasts of Guinea and Brasil From C. Virde to C. Bonna Esperance And from the River Amazons to Rio de la Plata &c. of Ed. Wright Projection vut. Mercator’s Chart. By C. Price Hydrographer to the King. Sold by C. Price Junior, Atkinson, Macy, Eades, and Heath. Same imprint as Berkeley; not present in BL. Original outline colour.

25. PRICE, Charles. A Correct Chart of the West Indies Humbly Dedicated to John Lant of Putney Esq. By his Obliged Servt. C. Price 1729. No imprint. Same state as Berkeley. Not in BL.

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