Laurie’s 1903 chart of the Western Coast of Europe


Alexander G. Findlay. “The Coasts of Western Europe Between the British Isles and Gibraltar, with Madeira, etc.” London: R.H. Laurie, [1900]-1903. Separately issued “blueback” chart; mounted to blue paper and rolled. 43 x 75. Engraving. With consider surface wear, some tears, creases, and general wear. Also some stains and many manuscript navigational plotting marks. Some small holes. Overall, 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 a chart of the western coasts of Europe updated to just after the turn of the century. The British Isles, except for the northern-most parts, are shown, and the chart extends down just past Gibraltar. Many insets are included of ports along the coasts. 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. This chart was heavily used, but it is still in very good condition for a working chart.