Very scarce chart of the coasts of New England and the Canadian Maritimes from John Seller’s Atlas Maritimus, the best depiction of the region then available. Published in 1674, at a transitional moment in the history of the English colonies in North America. The chart depicts the coast from eastern Long Island round to Newfoundland […]
John Seller (ca.1632-1697) may regarded as the true founder of the English chart-publishing trade, starting at a time when the Dutch dominated the field. He was the first to build a business and a legacy that, through his successors and the partners he brought in, continued on into the Victorian period.
An ambitious figure, his principal project was The English Pilot a series of pilot books with charts, intended to cover all the world. In parallel, he prepared the Atlas Maritimus, a sea-atlas of the world, assembled to order.
In 1677 Seller was forced to bring in partners . The two most important were John Thornton, the celebrated chart-maker, and William Fisher, a prominent nautical publisher. Fisher’s successor firm, colloquially “Mount & Page” went on to be the dominant English chart-publishers of much of the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, the partnership was short-lived and Seller’s partners went on to overshadow him.
John Seller was also an important publisher of separately-issued maps; there seems little doubt he oversaw publication of Augustine Herrman’s wall map of Virginia and published a famous map of New England among his prodigious output. However, after about 1680 he refocussed on the large-scale mapping of the English counties, which provided a quick route to financial ruin, and a series of pocket atlases of the world, terrestrial and maritime, the English counties and celestial atlas, all of which are now rare.