Ceylon-Sth. Coast Point de Galle Harbour

Ceylon-Sth. Coast Point de Galle Harbour
C1860 (1870)
J & C Walker
Image Size:
500mm x 633mm (19.69" x 24.92")
Sheet Size:
510mm x 665mm (20.08" x 26.18")
Small repaired tear at lower right sheet edge, some surface soiling, otherwise in good condition.
Hand coloured engraving.
Stock Number:

Rare hydrographic chart of the Dutch trading walled town of Galle on Sri Lanka's south west coast. 

The Dutch built the fort in 1663 using fortified solid granite walls and three bastions, known as "Sun", "Moon" and "Star".  After the British took over the country from the Dutch in 1796, the British preserved the fort unchanged and used it as the administrative centre of the district

The regular updating of hydrographic charts by the Hydrographic Office was to ensure that commanders of ships, pilots and other mariners were able to have the most to up to date information available to safely navigate foreign waters and ports as new information of changes to sea depths, sand bars, wrecks or other any other pertinent nautical information that could hinder passage became available. As updated charts were offered for sale, the earlier outdated charts in the hands of mariners, pilots, ships owners and sailors were invariably discarded, subsequently making all British Admiralty issued hydrographic charts of the period rare. 


The Admiralty's first Hydrographer, Alexander Dalrymple, was appointed in 1795 and in the next year the existing charts were brought together and catalogued.

The first chart the Admiralty produced (of Quiberon Bay in Brittany) did not appear until 1800. Dalrymple was succeeded in 1808 by Captain Thomas Hurd, under whose stewardship the department was given permission to sell charts to the public. Hurd oversaw the first production of "Sailing Directions" in 1829 and the first catalogue in 1825 with 736 charts. Rear-Admiral Sir W. Edward Parry was appointed Hydrographer in 1823 after his second expedition to discover a Northwest Passage.

Under Dalrymple's successor, Captain Thomas Hurd, Admiralty charts were sold to the general public, and by 1825 there were 736 charts listed in the catalogue. In 1829 the first sailing directions were published, and in 1833, under Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort the tide tables were first published. Notices to Mariners came out in 1834, allowing for the timely correction of charts already in use. Beaufort was certainly responsible for a step change in output; by the time he left the office in 1855 the Hydrographic Office had a catalogue of nearly 2,000 charts and was producing over 130,000 charts, of which about half were provided to the Royal Navy and half sold.


1795 - 1808 Alexander Dalrymple

1808 - 1823 Captain Thomas Hurd

1823 - 1829 Rear-Admiral Sir William Parry

1829 - 1855 Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort

1855 - 1863 Rear Admiral John Washington

1863 - 1874 Vice Admiral Sir George Richards

1874 - 1884 Captain Sir Frederick Evans

1884 - 1904 Rear Admiral Sir William Wharton

1904 - 1909 Rear Admiral Mostyn Field

1909 - 1914 Rear Admiral Herbert Purey-Cust

1914 - 1919 Rear Admiral Sir John Parry 

1919 - 1924 Vice Admiral Frederick Learmonth

1924 - 1932 Vice Admiral Percy Douglas 

1932 - 1945 Vice Admiral Sir John Edgell

1945 - 1950 Rear Admiral Arthur Norris Wyatt