C1800

A Chart of Basses Strait Between New South Wales and Van-Diemen's Land ; Surveyed by Lieut. Flinders of His Majesty's Ship Reliance, by order of His Excellency Governor Hunter. 1798-9.

The first edition of this very rare and important, separately issued chart of Van Diemen’s Land, Bass Strait and the mainland from Western Port to Twofold Bay, by the great English cartographer Aaron Arrowsmith.   This is the first chart … Read Full Description

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Details

Full Title:

A Chart of Basses Strait Between New South Wales and Van-Diemen’s Land ; Surveyed by Lieut. Flinders of His Majesty’s Ship Reliance, by order of His Excellency Governor Hunter. 1798-9.

Date:

C1800

Condition:

In good condition with centre fold as issued.

Technique:

Copper engraving.

Image Size: 

500mm 
x 745mm
AUTHENTICITY
A Chart of Basses Strait Between New South Wales and Van-Diemen's Land ; Surveyed by Lieut. Flinders of His Majesty's Ship Reliance, by order of His Excellency Governor Hunter. 1798-9. - Antique Print from 1800

Genuine antique
dated:

1800

Description:

The first edition of this very rare and important, separately issued chart of Van Diemen’s Land, Bass Strait and the mainland from Western Port to Twofold Bay, by the great English cartographer Aaron Arrowsmith.  

This is the first chart solely devoted to the discoveries made by George Bass on the Tom Thumb, along the Victorian coast to Western Port in 1797-1798 and Matthew Flinders’s and George Bass’s circumnavigation of Tasmania in the Norfolk in 1798-1799, that proved its insularity and the existence of Bass Strait. Extensive inscriptions refer to the methods of fixing positions and to the sources used for sections of the coast not surveyed in the Norfolk.

At Port Jackson, Bass had sought permission to make a third journey further south in December 1797 and was provided a whale-boat and a crew of six by Governor Hunter. On this three-month voyage Bass explored 600 miles of coastline, discovering the Shoalhaven River, Twofold Bay, the Victorian coast between Cape Everard and Western Port. At the same time Flinders had been sent on the schooner Francis to the Furneaux Islands (north of Van Diemen’s Land), to pick up the cargo and remaining crew from the wreck of the Sydney Cove. Bass had been given specific instructions to explore the area we now know as Bass Strait and while on his return trip, he noticed the strong south-west swell, which gave him reason to believe that Van Diemen’s Land might be separated from New Holland by a strait. 

Hunter subsequently instructed Flinders to attempt a circumnavigation of Van Diemen’s Land in the Norfolk in September 1798. Flinders and Bass made their historic circumnavigation between 7 October 1798 and 12 January 1799. The resulting chart was engraved by Arrowsmith from a draft sent to England by Governor Hunter, which provided the first news of the proven existence of Bass Strait and the insularity of Van Diemen’s Land. The discovery shortened the passage from England to Sydney, making Bass Strait the principal waterway for shipping to and from New South Wales, Tasmanian and later Victoria.

Arrowsmith published this chart in June 1800 while Flinders was still in Australia. On his return to England, Arrowsmith also published Flinders’s thirty six page pamphlet Observations on the coasts of Van Diemen’s Land, on Bass’s Strait and its Islands, which contained the important sailing directions from his recent explorations. In his Observations, Flinders refers to three charts, all published by Arrowsmith, A Chart of Bass Strait (same as the one offered here but with title and other changes), Chart of part of the coast of New South Wales and Port Dalrymple, on the North Coast of Van Diemen’s Land. These three charts referred to in the Observations, were all published after Flinders return, when he had the opportunity to inspect and make changes prior to publication, unlike A Chart of Basses Strait, had been published first and before his return. The later three charts were not issued as part of the pamphlet, although the obvious intent was that they were integral to its practical use.

Further editions of this chart were issued with the following dates: 1800, 1801, 1809 and 1822. All of these are identified by a number of alterations to this chart, principally to the title in which Bass’s replaces Basses, Van Dieman to Van Diemen’s, explored to Surveyed and finally Matthew Flinders, 2nd Lieutentant replaces Lieut. Flinders. Additionally changes were made to the longitude on the mainland coast.

Issue date 16th June, 1800, printed by Russell & Co. on 1799 watermarked paper.


References:

Edwards p.60 item 871, Ferguson 329,
Perry p.79, ill. p.80-81 (2nd edition) Prescott p.234 entry 1800.A01,
Tooley 65 p.11 (2nd edition), Wantrup pp.132-138, entry 66 (2nd
edition).

First edition 1800 titled Basses held in the following collections; Harvard University Library, National Library of Australia

Later issues with name changes etc held in;  SLNSW, SLVIC & Stokes collection 1822.

There are eleven copies of his Observations recorded.

Aaron Arrowsmith (1750 - 1823)

"Easily the foremost cartographer of his time" (Tooley) The Arrowsmiths were the leading British map publishers in the early 19th century founded by Aaron Arrowsmith. Born in an impoverished family, at Winston, Durham, 14 July 1750. He came to London about 1770 and although self taught he established himself as a land surveyor and worked for other publishers such as Faden and Cary. In 1790 he set up in his own establishment in Castle Street, Long Acre as a publisher and engraver. His first production was A Chart of the World on Mercator's Projection, Showing all the New Discoveries. This was published on 1 April 1790, and fore-shadowed the direction of his contribution to geography. He was to concentrate his considerable energies on the production of large scale general charts, recording of the latest geographical discoveries. His maps were sold singularly in sheets or collections but not in published atlas format and were constantly revised. He was Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales from about 1810 and subsequently Hydrographer to George IV. He used the material of important contemporary explorers such as Bass, Flinders and Colnett and had the confidence of travellers who sent him their manuscripts or information for inclusion in his maps. He received assistance from Dalrymple, Rennell, the Hudson Bay Company, the Ordance Office and the East India Company.

View other items by Aaron Arrowsmith

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