Rare map of the Clyde Estuary and South West Scotland
By ADAIR, John , 1731

A New & Exact Map of the River Clyde Done by the late Mr John Adair Hydrographer and Fellow of the Royal Society And now Publish'd for the Good of the Publick by Geo: Scott. To His Grace John Duke of Argyll & Greenwich…Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. This Map is most humbly inscrib’d by your Grace’s most obedient and most humble Servt. Geo:Scott.

British Isles Scotland
  • Author: ADAIR, John
  • Publication date: 1731
  • Physical description: Engraved map, fine original outline hand-colour.
  • Dimensions: 690 by 490mm (27.25 by 19.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1637


An exceptionally rare and significant map of the Clyde Estuary and South West Scotland. The map is oriented with North to the right and extends from Loch Awe and Loch Fyne in the North to the Mull of Kintyre and Arran in the West and Loch Lomond and Stirling in the East and Loch Ryan, Stranraer and western Galloway in the South. The map may have been amongst charts acquired by Edinburgh engraver Richard Cooper when mapmaker and hydrographer John Adair died in 1718 aged about 58, leaving his family “in very poor and necessitous circumstances”. Adair is now best known for his series of regional maps of Scotland surveyed in the 1680’s under the auspices of Robert Sibbald as part of a proposed national survey, of which the marine element was published as A Description of the Sea Coast and Islands of Scotland in 1703. His survey work appears to have been constrained and frequently held back by regular financial difficulties. Little if anything is known about the mapmaker George Scott, who is the author of this map, though the engraving is attributed to Richard Cooper and stylistically closely matches other examples of his cartographic output. The most prominent features of the map are the two cartouches, the title piece top centre embellished with the seated classically garbed female figure, possibly representative of Scotland, beside the lion rampant coat of arms, presented with sheaves of wheat and garlands of flowers by attendant cherubs. An additional cherub turned to the west, takes celestial readings from a backstaff or back quadrant. In the background two kilted Highlanders with targs and broadswords stand on either side. Further reference is made to the area’s rich fishing industry with the looping strings of drying fish. In the upper right, the dedication to John, 2nd Duke of Argyll and 1st Duke of Greenwich [1678-1743]. Argyll had played a prominent role in the Hanoverian Government’s defeat of the Jacobite Rebellion under the Earl of Mar in 1715 at the Battle of Sheriffmuir and between 1725 and 1740 was appointed Master General of the Ordnance and in 1736 was promoted to Field Marshal. A detailed list of each of Argyll’s official appointments and titles is given in Scott’s flamboyant dedication, surrounded by the symbols of war, martial prowess and power – guns, cannons, drums, halberds and spears and surmounted by the Argyll coat of arms (quarterly: 1st and 4th gyronny of eight or and sable (for Campbell); 2nd and 3rd argent, a lymphad, sails furled, flags and pennants flying gules, and oars in action sable (for Lorne)).


  1. EMS.s.737(18)