TITLE A chart of the coast of Guinea from Cape Bona Esperance. Drawn with Squares of the Side of each Square Containing 100 English Leagues.
CARTOGRAPHER John Seller (1675)
PUBLICATION DATE 1701 or 1761
PUBLICATIONS General English Pilot (London: Jer. Seller and Cha. Price at the Hermitage Stairs in Wapping, 1701, Part V), and also in The English Pilot (London: Mount and Page 1761), Book III.
DIMENSIONS 52cm x 42.5cm
TECHNOLOGY Copperplate; uncoloured as issued
ENGRAVER Drawn by Jeremiah Seller (John’s son)
GRATICULE Meridian of the Lizard. The Equator and Tropic of Capricorn are shown; east is on top.
CONDITION Surface dirt; few small dark stains within plate line. The map is printed on heavy paper; good impression of the fifth state.
HISTORY & OTHER INFORMATION Rare Seller & Price sea chart of the west coast of Africa, from Cape Verde to the Cape of Good Hope. The chart first was published by John Seller in 1675 in his English Pilot and Atlas Maritimus; the title was ‘A chart of guinea describeing (sic) the seacoast from Cape Verde to Cape Bona Espernca’; Seller’s name was engraved on a tusk at the bottom of the chart. Tooley describes the changes, re-engravings and erasures in the eight subsequent editions of this chart. In this edition, Seller’s name has been erased and the imprint of ‘Will: Fisher and Rich: Mount’ has been incompletely erased; the title has been substantially changed to include Drawn with Squares of the Side of each Square Containing 100 English Leagues.
This chart is notable for its graticule and scales, which are of historic importance. The prime meridian is Lizard Point, the southern tip of the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, at about 5° 12.3′ W. This meridian was used by the English and Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries; paradoxically, in 1676, Seller was the first to use the London Prime meridian. The lines of longitude are on a scale with gradations of 100 leagues. The gradations of the latitude scale are also 100 English leagues; a rather indistinct scale to the south (right) of the compass rose shows that there were 100 English Leagues to 5° of latitude; i.e. 20 to the degree. There are numerous loxodromes and there is a compass rose at the bottom right; scale of 90-degrees, above and to the left of the compass rose, quantifies the angle of the rhumb lines emanating from the compass rose.
The chart shows the mythical St. Helena Nova.
REFERENCES Tooley pp. 102-103; Norwich #258 is the 1st edition of the chart.
VALUE Seller’s sea charts are scarce and sought after; the map is in very good condition. An example of this map has been sold only once in the last 33 years.