HEATHER, William (1746 - 1812). Chart of the Entrance to the River Thames. London: c 1791.
Single sheet (25 ¼ x 32 ¼ inches). Full margins showing the platemark, copperplate engraved map.
A stunning chart depicting numerous soyndings and well-known sandbanks near the River Thames' mouth; including "Kentish Knock", Goodwin Sands", and "Margate Sands". Besides showing the entrance to the river, it also shows an inset with its continuation to London (with the Tower of London in red, an interesting detail), and parts of Suffolk and Essex.
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn. While it is best known for flowing through London, the river also flows alongside other towns and cities, including Oxford, Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor. In an alternative name, derived from its long tidal reach up to Teddington Lock in south west London, the lower reaches of the river are called the Tideway. The section of the river running through Oxford is traditionally called the Isis.
The Chart was dedicated To The Right Honorable the Master, Wardens, & Elder Brethren of the Trinity House, this chart was drawn by S. Clements, "Pilot of the Kings Yacht." Though the Admiral Hydrographic Office started in 1795, most merchant shippers used maps such as this, made by private mapmakers, and this map was later reissued by John Norie, Heather's successor.
William Heather (1764-1812) started business as a publisher and dealer in charts and nautical instruments, on the same street as the East India Company. Active from 1793 to 1812, his earliest productions were for the European coasting trade, but he soon moved on to charts for the rich commercial markets of North America and Asia. Heather specialized in supplying charts to the merchant trade, operating from the Navigation Warehouse at 157 Leadenhall Street, at 'The Sign of the Little Midshipman', a ship's figurehead suspended outside. This address, which became known as the 'Naval Academy' and 'Navigation Warehouse', was later immortalized in Charles Dickens' work 'Dombey and Son'. In 1768, the firm became 'Heather and Williams' until Heather's death in 1812. . "Heather's own charts had a distinctive clear house style with the titles in elaborate decorative scripts set in a simple circular frame" (Fisher).
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