CHART OF THE NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN, EXHIBITING THE EASTERN SHORES OF ASIA AND THE WESTERN COAST OF NORTH AMERICA, FROM THE EQUATOR TO BEHRING'S STRAIT WITH PLANS, ON AN ENLARGED SCALE OF THE PRINCIPAL ISLANDS AND HARBOURS [caption title]
by Imray, James
London: James Imray & Son, 1855. Engraved map, 39 x 74 inches. Backed with linen. Several manuscript pencil plot lines. Lightly tanned, with a few wrinkled areas. Very good. A massive "blue back" sea chart of the North Pacific encompassing both Asian and American coastlines, produced by one of the leading private British publishers of sea charts in the mid-19th century, James Imray. The map depicts the Pacific Rim from Borneo and the Philippines north to the Bering Strait, and thence the western coast of the Americans south to present day Colombia and the Galapagos Islands. It also accurately shows major and minor Pacific islands, including those in the Marian, Caroline, and Marshall chains, the Sandwich Islands (modern Hawaii), and many other isolated islands that were crucial waypoints for the navigation of the Pacific Ocean. In the upper right quadrant of the chart are six insets showing important islands and harbors in detail: The Philippine, Marian, and Sandwich Islands, as well as San Francisco, Victoria, and the Awatska Bay in Kamchatka, and across the Pacific Ocean are plotted several key great circle routes, from San Francisco to China and the Sandwich Islands, and from the Sandwich Islands to Hong Kong and Colombia. The purpose of such a large map was for the convenience of a ship's navigator, who had to track a ship's position over the course of a long journey, as evidenced by the manuscript plot lines in this copy. During this period, Imray was fast becoming the principal private supplier of sea charts to the merchant ships of Great Britain. His popularity was due in large part to the production of charts such as this one, which provided new and essential basic guides to areas of the Pacific beginning to be frequented more heavily by private British traders. "Salesmanship and prolific output alone would not have brought success unless the quality of the product had been right. In achieving this Imray had an advantage over earlier generations of commercial chart publishers, who faced a continual problem acquiring adequate hydragraphic information for their charts. By Imray's time accurate new survey material was fast becoming available for all parts of the world....His contribution was to present the material in a convenient and familiar form for the merchant ship navigator. This had changed little over the years and Imray retained the well-tried format of a small-scale chart covering as much as possible of the sea passage for a particular trade, with numerous large-scale plans of ports" - Fisher. Rare, with OCLC recording only one copy, at Brown University, and not in the British Library. FISHER, THE MAKERS OF THE BLUEBACK CHARTS, p.39. OCLC 549596970. (Inventory #: WRCAM51883)
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