Laurie’s 1852 Chart of the Coasts of Brazil


John Purdy & Alex’r Findlay, Jr. “General Chart of the Coasts of Brasil, &c. From The River Para to Buenos-Ayres; With Particular Plans of the Harbours.” London: Richard H. Laurie, [January 1, 1838]-1852. Separately issued “blueback” chart; mounted to blue paper and rolled. 37 1/2 x 75. Engraving. With some wear and old repaired tears at edges; edges strengthened with old linen tape. Water stains and many manuscript navigational plotting marks. Some small holes. Overall, very good condition for working chart.

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Having taken over his father’s partnership in the renowned firm of Laurie & Whittle, Richard Holmes Laurie (1777-1858) eventually became the sole proprietor of the mapmaking firm after the death of James Whittle in 1818. With the help of John Purdy, Alexander Findlay, and Alexander George Findlay, Laurie began to specialize in the production of nautical publications and charts. Drawing on his firm’s long experience, Laurie produced maps that were exceptional for their crisp, clear detail as evidenced even in the superior calligraphy of the title cartouche.  Such was his success that his firm became the “Chartseller to the Admiraly.”

This is an impressively detailed working chart of the coasts of Brazil from the River Para to Buenos Aires.  Typically of bluebacks, this map has precise detail of all the coastlines, with geographic coordinates, shoals, and other navigational information. It was intended for ships sailing the coast of Brazil so details of depths, rivers, harbors, lights houses and such are particularly copious. Also of note are the 31 insets of all the important harbors along this coast, including Rio Janeiro, and charming vignettes of the appearance of the coast from the sea, including ones of the City of Rio Janeiro and of San Salvador.