Catalog Archive
Auction 133, Lot 358

"[Strait of Magellan]", Narbrough, John

Subject: Strait of Magellan

Period: 1711 (circa)

Publication: An account of several late voyages…

Color: Hand Color

20.4 x 16.3 inches
51.8 x 41.4 cm
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In 1670, John Narbrough was the first Englishman to sail through the Strait of Magellan in both directions; thus demonstrating the falsity of the accepted wisdom that the wind and currents would prevent any eastward passage of the strait. He had been commissioned by James, Duke of York (later James II), to sail to South America to investigate potential trade possibilities. Narbrough's expedition proved that a profitable trade with South America was possible, and this set the course of Britain's foreign policy for the next half century. A skilled mapmaker himself, Narbrough was assisted by Greenvile Collins - who later became Hydrographer to the King and assembled the first British coasting pilot. Their description of the Strait of Magellan provided the basis for British charts of the strait until the time of Captain Cook. The map provides a detailed view of the tortuous course of the strait with soundings and safe anchorages carefully noted. There are several notations along the coasts describing the countryside. A large inset map shows Patagonia and Terra del Fuego. This rare, untitled map, engraved by John Sturt, is embellished with elaborate compass roses and a large dedication cartouche. This is the second edition with the dedication changed from Samuel Pepys to Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, and Lord High Treasurer between 1711 & 1714. We can find no record of either states of this map being on the market in the past 25 years.


Condition: B

Issued folding and now flattened with 1 3" binding tear at right and some fold separations repaired with tissue on verso. Narrow bottom and right side margins, as issued.

Estimate: $1,600 - $2,000

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 9/1/2010