(22 x 15 1/2 inches). Mounted on guards throughout. Double-page engraved additional title-page, 39 engraved maps and charts by Jefferys and others (36 double-page, 2 with some early hand-colouring), 2 engraved headpieces (one mounted) and 1 engraved tailpiece in text. Expertly bound to style using 18th-century half diced russia, over contemporary marbled paper-covered boards, spine titled in gilt Very rare first edition of the West-India Atlas The 39 engraved maps and charts are divided into three sections: the first group of six charts are designed to give information to a navigator wishing to sail from England to the West Indies. Starting with a map of the English Channel, then a general Atlantic chart, followed by more detailed charts of the Azores, the Canaries, the Cape Verde Islands and Bermuda. The second section is made up of an index map of the 'West Indies,' followed by 16 detailed charts that could be joined to form a a single large chart of both the coast of continental America (north, central and south) and the various islands of the Caribbean. The third section contains 16 maps of individual islands or island groups. Five of the charts (in the first and second sections) feature what is now mainland United States: number B 'a Chart of the Atlantic Ocean' (1775); number 1 '.A Compleat Chart of the West Indies' (1775); number 2 'The Western Coast of Louisiana and the Coast of New Leon' (1775); number 3 'The Coast of West Florida and Louisiana' (no date); number 4 'The Peninsula and Gulf of Florida . with the Bahama Islands' (1775); number 7 'The Island of Cuba with part of the Bahama Banks and the Martyrs' (1775). Thomas Jefferys was one of the leading English cartographers of the 18th century. From about 1750, he published a series of maps of the Americas, that were among the most significant produced in the period. As Geographer to the Prince of Wales, and after 1761, Geographer to the King, Jefferys was well-placed to have access to the best surveys conducted in America, and many of his maps held the status of "official work." Jefferys died on 20th November 1771, but Robert Sayer (in partnership with John Bennett) 'having acquired the sole property of the Plates' and other material relating to the work, 'minutely followed' Jefferys' plans for the present work although Sayer does note that additional work was done using various sources to ensure that the information was up to date. The work was evidently a commercial success 'as there were five subsequent editions under the Sayer and Bennett imprint. In 1794 an expanded and modified version with sixty-one plates was published under Sayer's sole imprint. In the same year Laurie & Whittle acquired Sayer's plates, Sayer having died on 29th January 1794. They published a further version with the same title-page, but a slip with their names was pasted over the Sayer imprint.' In addition to the maps, the letterpress portion is also of interest: the title is followed by a dedication to Sir William Young 'late Captain-General and governor in Chief of . Dominica.' The 4p. introduction gives details of the genesis of the atlas ('This work unites the Atlas and pilot for the West-Indies, shewing both the Geographic and Hydrographic parts') as well as notes on the sources of the individual maps. This is then followed by 23pp. of text on the West Indies, the Islands and the industries that they support, including an early polemic against the slave trade. D. Gestetner "Thomas Jefferys': West-India Atlas, 1775" in MapForum , issue 7 (2005), pp.40-48 & issue 8 (2005), pp.30-35; OCLC lists only one copy at Yale; Phillips 2699. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: The West-India Atlas; or, a Compendious ...
Publisher: printed for Robert Sayer and John Bennett
Publication Date: 1775
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