Arrowsmith’s large chart of the East Indies

By ARROWSMITH, Aaron, 1824 

Chart of the East India Islands. Exhibiting several passages between the Indian and Pacific Oceans; Inscribed to the Commanders and Officers of the British Ships navigating those seas, by A. Arrowsmith.

Asia Southeast Asia
  • Author: ARROWSMITH, Aaron
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: A. & S. Arrowsmith, 10 Soho Square
  • Publication date: February 10th, 1824.
  • Physical description: Engraved chart, fine original outline hand-colour, on four sheets, dissected and mounted on linen, each sheet edged in blue silk.
  • Dimensions: 1310 by 1870mm (51.5 by 73.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 11390


Rare definitive edition of Arrowsmith’s chart of the East Indies.

This large chart stretches from Burma to Pupua New Guinea and inlcudes, numerous soundings, and the marking of the best routes for sailing to Canton, throughout the year. For the 1824 edition Arrowsmith has added seven block of text to the chart, the majority providing information upon the monsoon seasons and the violent tempests around the coast areas known as the Ty-fongs”. The text block next to Pinang Island gives a brief description of the island, and the acquisition of it by the East India Company in 1786.

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750–1823) was the finest cartographer of his generation. Although he received little formal education it is believed that he was taught some mathematical instruction by William Emerson, an author of several books on the application of mathematics to the area of cartography. Around 1770, Arrowsmith moved to London to seek employment. It is believed that he worked for William Faden before joining John Cary Sr. in the early 1780s. There he provided the measurements for John Cary’s early publication detailing the roads from London to Falmouth, his first signed work. Arrowsmith set up on his own in 1790 and over the next thirty years produced some of the most beautiful and elegant maps of the era.