||British Hydrographic Office
Albemarle Sound to Cape Fear
London: Published by the Admiralty, 1886. Engraving. Printed on wove paper. In excellent condition with the exception of some expertly mended tears along the edges of the sheet. Image size: 25 1/4 x 38 1/2 inches. Sheet size: 27 1/4 x 40 inches.
A superb admiralty chart of the North Carolina coast, produced by the British Hydrographic Office.
The British Hydrographic Office was founded in 1795 by George III, who appointed Alexander Dalrymple as the first Hydrographer to the Admiralty. He immediately set to work but it was not until 1800 that the first Admiralty chart was published of the waters around Quiberon Bay in Brittany. Unlike the U. S. Coast Survey the Hydrographic Office was given permission to sell charts to the public and they produced a great number of sea charts covering every corner of the globe. Most of the Admiralty charts produced by the Hydrographic Office delineated coastline as well as high and low water marks and record depth of water as established by soundings. In addition these charts included information on shoals, reefs, and other navigational hazards that plagued mariners across the world. Thanks to the innovations of Sir Francis Beaufort, who developed the Beaufort Scale of wind strength, the British Hydrographic Office became one of the leading producers of sea charts.
This large chart covers the Albemarle Sound to Cape Fear in North Carolina. Water depths and sand bars are all carefully recorded, as are the various lighthouses along the coastline. There are two inset maps of Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet on the left edge of the sheet, as well as three compasses to the right. This is an important sea chart of this area and a wonderful example of the maps produced by the British Hydrographic Office.