CARTOGRAPHER: John Seller (1630-1697)
Jer. Seller and Cha. Price. General English Pilot (London: John Thornton, 1701), Part V; also published in 1739, according to Tooley.
DIMENSIONS: 43 x 53 cm. Inset of Table Bay: 18 x 22 cm.
TECHNOLOGY: Copperplate engraving.
ENGRAVER: F Lamb Sculp. (Francis Lamb worked from Pewter Plate Alley, next but one to the White Swan in Newgate Street).
GRATICULE: No longitude scale. East is at the top of the map. The Tropic of Capricorn is the only line of latitude; the latitude scale is on top and the distance scale at the bottom.
CONDITION: Heavy paper; some surface dirt in margins.
Otherwise in a good condition.
REFERENCE: Tooley, R.V. 1969. Maps of the African Continent and Southern Africa. London: Carta Press, p. 104.
VALUE: John Seller’s charts are scarce and valuable and this is very scarce map of which only one example has been sold in the past 33 years. .
A rare Seller & Price sea chart. A previous imprint had been partially erased in the cartouche in the upper left corner: ‘By Jer: Seller & Cha. Price Hydrographers at the Hermitage Stairs in Wapping’. Jeremiah Seller was the younger brother of John Seller.
John Seller is one of the most important figures in the early history of the map and chart-publishing trade in England. He was the first Englishman to try establish an atlas-publishing business comparable with Continental firms, such as Blaeu, Jansson, de Wit, Goos, Colom & Doncker.No other London publisher of his day offered the variety of stock that Seller sold. In folio form he published a celestial atlas, two terrestrial atlases, a sea-atlas, several coasting pilots, as well as a large number of separately-issued charts. In addition, he also published number of navigation handbooks, almanacs, pocket books, miniature sea-atlases, and made a variety of mathematical and navigational instruments and tools. In 1677 he averted bankruptcy by going into a partnership with William Fisher, a leading printer, and John Thornton, a noted manuscript chartmaker. When the partnership was dissolved in 1679, Fisher retained the publishing rights for Seller’s two main sea-atlases,the English Pilot for the Southern Navigation and the Atlas Maritimus, and also took several map-plates and some of the stock of printed sheets. Thornton received some of Seller’s stock of printing plates.
The geography of the chart is similar to Cimbebas et Caffariae Littora a Catenbela ad Promontorium Bonae Spei, published in 1680 by Frederick De Wit. There are numerous rhumb lines and a single compass rose; to the south of the mythical St. Helena Nova is a distance scale in English and French Leagues, German Miles and Spanish Leagues. There is an inset of Table Bay, with an inaccurate silhouette of the surrounding mountains in the space where De Wit had an attractive vignette