Admiralty chart of Iceland

Iceland [Western and Eastern Portions]. From the latest Danish Government chart, with additions from French Government charts.

Europe Scandinavia
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Admiralty
  • Publication date: 20th July 1896, large corrections July 1897, Aug 1898.
  • Physical description: Engraved chart, dissected and mounted on linen, housed within brown cloth slipcase.
  • Dimensions: 1000 by 1236mm. (39.25 by 48.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14829


A large chart of Iceland’s coast and surrounding waters, including mountains and rivers closest to the coast. The title notes that: ‘The local attraction in the vicinity of Iceland is considerable. Ships navigating in less than 50 fathoms of waters must keep a careful watch on the direction of the compass.’

The chart was published under the supervision of Rear Admiral W. J. L. Wharton, Hydrographer of the Navy from 1885 and rear-admiral from 1895. Wharton wrote ‘Hydrographical Surveying, a description of means and methods employed in constructing marine charts’, in an attempt to gather the latest and less out-of-date methods of nautical surveying.

The British Hydrographic Office was founded in 1795 by George III, who appointed Alexander Dalrymple as the first Hydrographer to the Admiralty. The first charts were produced in 1800. 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. In fact, such was their accuracy that the phrase ‘Safe as an Admiralty Chart’ was coined.