London: Laurie & Whittle, 1794. unbound. Map. Engraving with hand coloring.. Image measures 20 1/8" x 20 1/8"
This unusual yet beautiful hemispherical projection of Western Europe is centered on London, such that the compass bearings are drawn as straight lines. The map has a 700 mile radius that encompasses the Faroe Islands, Bergen in Norway, Munich in Germany, Parma in Italy, the northern coasts of Majorca and Minorca, and Galicia in Spain. Countries, counties, and cities are all labeled. The map also features lovely pastel hand-coloring, with England colored a vibrant pink that stands out markedly against pale green France. In fact, the latter country seems almost to fade into the water, another possible element of the map's colonial-era image of British supremacy. An annotation in the lower left corner attests to the map's accuracy. The map is in good condition with very minor tears and wear to the edges of the sheet, not affecting the image. Small stain on the bottom border and very minor foxing. Robert Laurie (c. 1755 - 1836) and James Whittle (1757-1818) were London-based map and atlas publishers active in the late 18th and early 19th century. Their firm combined Laurie%u2019s engraving skills with Whittle%u2019s social contacts and print sales experience. Together, they published numerous maps and atlases, often enlisting prominent cartographers such as Kitchin, Faden, Jefferys and others to update and modify their plates. This unusual map is a fascinating example of their work.