Asia To Major James Rennell, Esqr. F. R. S. &c. &c. This Map Is Inscribed, by His much Obliged Humble Servant January 1st 1801. A. Arrowsmith. Aaron ARROWSMITH.
Asia To Major James Rennell, Esqr. F. R. S. &c. &c. This Map Is Inscribed, by His much Obliged Humble Servant January 1st 1801. A. Arrowsmith
A Superb State-of-the-Art Map of Asia
Asia.
[London, 1801]

Asia To Major James Rennell, Esqr. F. R. S. &c. &c. This Map Is Inscribed, by His much Obliged Humble Servant January 1st 1801. A. Arrowsmith.

48 ¾ x 57 ¼ inches, Dissected & mounted on linen, folding to 12 ½ x 9 ¾ inches. With original slipcase, worn & reinforced on sides. Engraved map with original wash color; light staining else excellent.

Arrowsmith's large, folding map of Asia was the most accurate of the continent available at the time.  It bears all the hallmarks that made his maps models of clarity and accessibility.  "It is a significant advance on other maps of the period, incorporating the work of surveyors like James Rennell, to whom the map was dedicated. Rennell was surveyor-general of the East India Company's dominions in Bengal and the information published in his 'Bengal Atlas' in 1779 appears here" (Rumsey). Rennell has been dubbed the "Father of India Cartography." The large martial-themed cartouche suggests the flexing of English imperial muscles in an age when British commercial interests were squarely set on Asia.

The map shows numerous tracks of exploratory voyages, but perhaps more interesting are the trade routes throughout the Middle East and on to China, including the various silk roads and caravan routes in Arabia.    Quite remarkable is the detail with mountain ranges have been rendered in Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia and Siberia.  The waters above Asia are indicated with caution with notations drawn from ship reports signaling the limits of verified geography in this area.  The map is weakest, as were all other maps of the day, in northern Japan, with Hokkaido badly misshapen and Sakhalin out of scale.

Suprisingly given the map's quality, it seems to have appeared in just a single edition.

Aaron Arrowsmith Sr. (1750-1823), patriarch of the long-lived and highly respected mapping firm, was "easily the foremost cartographer of his time (Tooley).  Although he received little formal education, he perhaps received some mathematical instruction from William Emerson, an author of several books on the application of mathematics to the area of cartography.  Around 1770, Arrowsmith moved to London, where it is believed he worked for William Faden before joining John Cary Sr. in the early 1780s, for whom he provided surveys and measurements for his road atlas. Arrowsmith set up on his own in 1790 and over the next thirty years produced primarily large, multi-sheet maps in the style of this one.  In these, he adopted a highly distilled approach, resulting in some of the most beautiful and elegant maps of the era.  He was also notable as a highly conscientious reviser of his maps, producing numerous issues of the some of them, all with new details.

 

Price: $4,850.00

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