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Aaron Arrowsmith

Aaron Arrowsmith


The Arrowsmiths were a cartographic dynasty which operated from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth. The family business was founded by Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), who was renowned for carefully prepared and meticulously updated maps, globes, and charts. He created many maps that covered multiple sheets and which were massive in total size. His spare yet exacting style was recognized around the world and mapmakers from other countries, especially the young country of the United States, sought his maps and charts as exemplars for their own work.

Aaron Arrowsmith was born in County Durham in 1750. He came to London for work around 1770, where he found employment as a surveyor for the city’s mapmakers. By 1790, he had set up his own shop which specialized in general charts. Arrowsmith had five premises in his career, most of which were located on or near Soho Square, a neighborhood the led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Joseph Banks, the naturalist, and Matthew Flinders, the hydrographer.

Through his business ties and employment at the Hydrographic Office, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and others entities. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King.

Aaron Arrowsmith died in 1823, whereby the business and title of Hydrographer to the King passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John. Aaron Jr. (1802-1854) was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and left the family business in 1832; instead, he enrolled at Oxford to study to become a minister. Samuel (1805-1839) joined Aaron as a partner in the business and they traded together until Aaron left for the ministry. Samuel died at age 34 in 1839; his brother presided over his funeral. The remaining stock and copper plates were bought at auction by John Arrowsmith, their cousin.

John (1790-1873) operated his own independent business after his uncle, Aaron Arrowsmith Sr., died. After 1839, John moved into the Soho premises of his uncle and cousins. John enjoyed considerable recognition in the geography and exploration community. Like Aaron Jr., John was a founder member of the RGS and would serve as its unofficial cartographer for 43 years. Several geographical features in Australia and Canada are named after him. He carried the title Hydrographer to Queen Victoria. He died in 1873 and the majority of his stock was eventually bought by Edward Stanford, who co-founded Stanford’s map shop, which is still open in Covent Garden, London today.



1

1804 - Map of America By A. Arrowsmith. 1804

  • $29.99

Fine example of Aaron Arrowsmith's wall map of America, in four sheets, first published in 1804. An excellent map of America on the eve of the great era of Amerian exploration by Lewis & Clark, Humbolt, Pike, Long and others. The map reflects the...


2

1841 - Africa.

  • $14.99

The Greatest Early American Map of Africa. Rare American imprint copying Arrowsmith's important wall map, the latter of which was originally published in 1802. "One of the greatest maps ever published. Arrowsmith simply stripped away centuries of...


3

1804 - The World on Mercator's Projection

  • $14.99

Interesting map of the World, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's New & Elegant Atlas of the World. Shows the Sandwich Islands, an early post-Cook representation of New Zealand, Australia, and the northwest coast of America, etc. Australia without the...


4

1804 - The World

  • $14.99

Nice double hemisphere map of the World, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's New & Elegant Atlas of the World. Shows the Sandwich Islands, an early post-Cook representation of New Zealand, Australia, and the northwest coast of America, etc. Curious shape...


5

1804 - Louisiana (Louisiana Territory)

  • $14.99

The First American Map of Louisiana Territory Nice example of Arrowsmith & Lewis's map of Louisiana Territory, first published shortly after the completion of the Louisiana Purchase and about the time Lewis & Clark set out to explore the...


6

1804 - United States

  • $14.99

Detailed antique map of the United States, extending to the Mississippi, with a large inset of Florida. Mississippi Territory includes all of Alabama. No sign of Michigan Territory, but Detroit is prominently labeled. The map was featured in...


7

1804 - Connecticut

  • $14.99

Early map of the state of Connecticut, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's Atlas.


8

1804 - New Hampshire

  • $14.99

Early map of New Hampshire, divided by counties. Shows towns, rivers, roads, lakes, islands, bays, points, harbors, etc. A nice example, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's New & Elegant Atlas, an early collaboration between American mapmaker Samuel...


9

1804 - Rhode Island

  • $14.99

Early map of Rhode Island, divided by Counties. Shows towns, rivers, roads, lakes, islands, bays, points, harbors, etc. Includes both Block Island and Fischers Island. A nice example, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's New & Elegant Atlas, an early...


10

1804 - Vermont

  • $14.99

Early engraved map of Vermont from Arrowsmith & Lewis's New & Elegant Atlas, an early collaboration between American mapmaker Samuel Lewis and British mapmaker Aaron Arrowsmith. The map names many towns including Burlington, Montpelier, Stowe,...


11

1804 - New York

  • $14.99

Early map of the state of New York, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's Atlas.


12

1804 - New Jersey

  • $14.99

Early map of the state of New Jersey, from Arrowsmith & Lewis's Atlas. Tanner was the engraver of the map and signed it under the title "Tanner, Sc."


13

1803 - Chart of the West Indies And Spanish Dominions in North America. By A. Arrowsmith. 1803.

  • $29.99

A Seminal Map of Florida, The Caribbean and Texas! First edition of Arrowsmith's map of Mexico & the West Indies, and the only edition to extend to the Pacific, thereby showing modern Texas and parts of New Mexico and Arizona. The map is...


14

1810 - Chart of the West Indies And Spanish Dominions in North America. By A. Arrowsmith. 1803 . . . Additions to 1810

  • $29.99

The Best Early 19th-Century Map of Central America and the Caribbean. Large hand-colored engraved antique map of Florida, the Gulf Coast, West Indies, and Central America, published by Aaron Arrowsmith in London in 1810. The map contains a detailed...


15

1804 - Tennessee

  • $14.99

Early map of Tennessee, shortly after statehood. Includes counties, towns, rivers, and other features. Washington District still shown. South of the state are the United States Lands and Tennessee Company.


16

1804 - Virginia

  • $14.99

Early engraved map of Virginia, published in Philadelphia in 1804. The map shows towns, early roads and distances, early counties, mountains, rivers and other details.