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Chart of the Pacific Ocean

Date: 1814
Overall: 2000 x 2522 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Maps, charts and plans
Object Name: Map
Object No: 00001284
Place Manufactured:London
Related Place:Pacific Ocean,

User Terms

    This imposing chart of the Pacific Ocean by renowned British Cartographer Aaron Arrowsmith shows the major voyages of Pacfic exploration.
    SignificanceThis chart has been described as the greatest work of one of the most renowned British cartographers.

    It is one of the earliest of such productions recognisable as a relatively complete and modern chart of the Pacific. The updates from 1814 undoubtedly include Matthew Flinders's surveys of Australia.
    HistoryThe 'Chart of the Pacific Ocean' is comprised of nine individual adjoining sheets. In the blank space of western North America (which Arrowsmith was to later feature in mapping), there is a 'cartouche' depicting a scene from a fictional montage of a Pacific bay with a whaling boat and various animals and plants from all across the Pacific, including a kangaroo, a beaver and llamas.

    The cartouche, engraved by George Allen, includes the text, 'A chart of the Pacific Ocean drawn from a great number of printed and MS journals by A Arrowsmith, Geographer, Soho Square, London. 1798. London: Published Octr. 1st. 1798, by A Arrowsmith No. 10 Soho Square.'

    In the upper left hand corner is a dedication, `To Joseph De Mendoza Rios Esqr. FRS & C & C. This chart of the Pacific Ocean is dedicated in testimony of respect and esteem by his much obliged humble servt. A Arrowsmith, Hydrographer to HRH The Prince of Wales, No 10 Soho Square. Additions to 1810 and 1814'. De Mendoza Rios was a Spanish astronomer and mathematician, famous for his work on the science and technique of navigation.

    Aaron Arrowsmith (1750–1823) was an English cartographer, engraver and publisher. He established a family business of mapmakers, with his sons Aaron and Samuel and nephew John Arrowsmith (1790–1873). Arrowsmith came to prominence with the 1790 publication of his 'Chart of the World upon Mercator's Projection'. This now rare large map was based on the astronomical observations taken during the three voyages of Captain James Cook.

    Arrowsmith specialised in producing large-scale individual maps containing the latest information from all parts of the world. He constantly revised and updated his work and it wasn't long before he gained an international reputation.

    Arrowsmith became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales in 1810 and subsequently to the King in 1820. He later published another large map of the world on the globular projection, with a companion volume of explanation. His largest publication was his map of Southern India on eighteen sheets in 1822. His maps of North America (1796) and Scotland (1807) are among his most celebrated.

    Tooley mentions that Arrowsmith's 'most prized publication' was this, his 'Chart of the Pacific Ocean' on nine sheets, first published in 1798. Tooley also notes the later editions of '1800?, 1808, 1810 and posthumously in 1832', but does not mention additions of 1814 - which this copy includes in an annotation 'Additions to 1810 and 1814'.

    The Chart of the Pacific Ocean with nine adjoining sheets is very large at over 2 metres square. Arrowsmith was noted for the precision and accuracy of his charts, as well as his ability to assemble the latest reports from travelers and explorers. It includes the routes of all major European exploration across the Pacific.

    Arrowsmith also produced maps of Australia, Africa, and India. Many were printed in 'A New and Elegant General Atlas: Comprising All the New Discoveries to the Present Time, Containing Sixty-three Maps Drawn by Arrowsmith and Lewis', published in Boston in 1812.
    Related People
    Cartographer: Aaron Arrowsmith

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