Auction 140, Lot 232

A Magnificent and Rare Chart of Southern Florida, the Bahamas and Cuba

"A Chart of the Gulf of Florida or New Bahama Channel, Commonly Called the Gulf Passage…", Faden, William

Subject: Southern Florida, Bahamas, Cuba

Period: 1794 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

29 x 23 inches
73.7 x 58.4 cm

This chart was completed by Charles Roberts, Master of the Royal Navy, and is based on the work of George Gauld, a Scottish surveyor. Gauld was assigned by British Admiralty to chart the waters off the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Bahamas. He arrived in the Florida area in 1764 on the English ship Tartar, along with John Harrison’s son. William Harrison was on board to test his father's clock Number Four, which was designed to determine longitude at sea. Although Harrison returned to England soon after arriving in Barbados, his longitude measurements were determined to be accurate to two minutes, or two miles. This data aided Gauld in creating extremely accurate charts. Realizing the importance of his work, Gauld began sharing manuscript charts of his early work with scientific societies in America. The Revolutionary War forced Gauld to suspend his work due to attacks by American privateers, and he was taken prisoner in 1781 and repatriated to England, where he died.

This rare sea chart depicts southern Florida, the Keys, the Bahamas, and the northern coast of Cuba. Extensive detail of soundings, shoals, navigational hazards, safe anchorages, and wind and water currents is shown. Seven coastal views are depicted in Cuba, and a small inset shows enlarged detail of the islands from Nassau to Booby Rocks. A table with the longitudes and latitudes of various locations fills the top right corner. This map was published by William Faden, who published many of Gauld's charts.


Condition: B

Original outline color with toning, minor offsetting, and light scattered foxing at top. There is a clean centerfold separation that enters 2.5" into map at top, a tear that enters 1/2" into map at top of the cartouche, and several small chips and tears in blank margins, not affecting map.

Estimate: $6,000 - $9,000

Sold for: $4,500

Closed on 5/23/2012