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Old Sea Chart of the North and Baltic Seas by Thomson

1816 Chart of the North and Baltic Seas

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By: John Thomson

Date: 1816 (Published) Edinburgh

Dimensions: 19.5 x 24.5 inches (50 x 62.23 cm)

This superb large format sea chart contains four charts in all. The primary chart depicts the North and Baltic Seas in great detail, including coastal elements of the countries which border the seas. Parts of Norway, Sweden, what is now Finland, Russia, and a long stretch of coastal Germany are included. The map proceeds even farther south to include the Netherlands, and to the west to include the coastline of England and Scotland. It also includes the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

A beautiful work, it was published in Thomson's New General Atlas, one of the sea charts to have appeared in his Atlas. Aside from coastal detail, it also includes soundings throughout the Baltic and in large areas of the North Sea. Many reefs and banks are shown and named. Insets of the Harbor of Heligoland, the Port of Revel, and the Harbor of St. Petersburg are also rendered in excellent detail, with soundings and other fine details included.

The area is of especial importance today as there are enormous reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the region, threatening the seas and bordering territories with all the concomitant issues related to development of such reserves. The map provides study of the area before exploration for such resources and their exploitation had begun. At the time it was published, fishing was of primary consideration, thus the chart was an important tool for captains and their navigators.

The map is engraved in the minimalist English style pioneered in the early part of the 19th century, a style which reduced maps’ decorative elements to a minimum. Relief is shown by hachure with towns, cities, and major topographical features all identified. This spectacular map is printed on heavy paper and has ample margins.

John Thomson (1777 - 1841) was a Scottish cartographer, publisher, and bookbinder active in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century. Thomson apprenticed under Edinburgh bookbinder Robert Alison. Thomson was one of the leading publishers in the Edinburgh school of cartography, which flourished in the early decades of the 19th century. Thomson and his contemporaries (Pinkerton and Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favor of detail and accuracy.

Condition: This sea chart is in A condition, near museum quality. Original coloring. An elegant compass rose embellishes each chart.

Inventory #11931

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