Large and important C18th chart of the South China Sea, the busiest waterway in the east, published in Mannevillette's, Le Neptune oriental (Oriental Pilot), the most highly regarded pilot for the Eastern trade for both French and English ships. The chart is dedicated to Alexander Dalrymple, who was the first Englishman to extensively explore, chart and collect detailed information of the seas and coasts of Borneo, the Philippines and China on behalf of the East India Company. He proposed the possibilities of establishing a direct trade with the East Indies and China from a British base in Borneo with the Chinese junks that annually visited the area . His plan was to bypass the corrupt Chinese officials in Canton and the prohibitive port costs limposed on British ships.
Mannevillette was one of the most eminent and influential cartographers who was instrumental in raising the standards of available printed sea charts for the eastern trade in both France and England in the C18th. From about 1735 Mannevillette had set about collecting detailed charts of the known coasts from Africa to Australia and which with the financial support of the Comapne des Indes and the Academie des Sciences, published his ground breaking sea atlas, Le Neptune Oriental in 1745. The first issue comprised twenty two charts, superior to any previously available and consequently quickly became the indispensable atlas for ship owners, captains and pilots engaged in the Southeast Asian sea routes. The second edition was expanded to 56 charts which Mannevillette had applied his advances in navigational techniques which he had refined in the intervening 30 years.
The 2nd issue of this chart, identified by the plate number 52 at top left (the 1st issue is numbered 30). Both issues are rare, as the atlas was usually used at sea and would have been discarded once more up to date charts were made in the early C19th onward. In 1775 d'Apres issued the second edition of Le Neptune Oriental expanding it to 63.
From Mannevillette's, Le Neptune oriental.
National Library of Australia; Mapping Our World p.191, ill.p.190
National Library of Australia: Bib ID 3770071