Extremely rare work on sailing routes in the Caribbean

Purdy, John. The New Sailing Directory for the Caribbee or West-India Islands, from Porto-Rico to Trinidad, inclusive; with the Coasts of Guyana, from the Maranon to the Orinoco, the Colombian or Leeward Isles, from Margarita to Curazao and the Coast of Venezuela from the Gulf of Paria to La Guayra.... Drawn up to accompany the general Chart of the Navigation described in the Work.... Harbours,...

London, (J. Rider) for R. H. Laurie, chart-seller of the Admiralty, 1839.

8vo. (6), 184 pp. With 12 steel-engraved coastal profiles.Contemporary half black cloth, marbled sides.


Extremely rare work on the sailing routes in the Caribbean, including the coasts of the Guyanas and Venezuela, by the great English hydrographer John Purdy (1773-1843). Purdy coined the term "pharology", the study of modern lighthouses and their design. He does not seem to have taken part in hydrographic expeditions himself, and his work consisted in writing works and constructing charts based upon the reports of others, but eventually he became a leading authority of his time on hydrography. He was instrumental in bringing Rennell's Current (to the south of the Isles of Scilly) before the notice of navigators.

Apart from the present work on the Caribbean, Purdy also produced a "Memoir, descriptive and explanatory, to accompany the New Chart of the Atlantic Ocean"; "The New Sailing directory for the Ethiopic or Southern Atlantic Ocean", 1837, and similar sailing directories, dealing with many other regions including the Mediterranean and the Americas.

The present work is designed - as stated on the back of the title-page - to illustrate "The general chart of the Caribbee Islands [... comprising] particular plans of the Virgin Islands, the Bocas of Trinidad. Chaguaramas Harbour in Trinidad, and St. George's Canada". A note on the same page suggests that this is a shortened version of a more comprehensive work to be published in the same year: "The whole of the Directory, with additions, will be included in the third volume of the 'Colombian navigator'". In the same year 1839 the second edition of that work appeared: "The Colombian Navigator, or Sailing Directory for the American Coasts and the West Indies".

With a library stamp on the buckram of the front board (anchor with "Marin. Bibl" and date "1839"), and also a manuscript paper piece pasted on the front board with the text "New Sailing Directions". Three owner's stamps on the title-page, two from the Marinens Bibliothek, Copenhagen (the library of the Danish Royal Navy). In good condition.


Cf. Sabin 66694 (The Columbian Navigator, 1839). Not in Lowell J. Ragatz.

Stock Code: BN#50167 Tags: , ,