Rare separately issued chart of the St George's Channel
By WILLIAMSON, Captain Robert , 1767

A General Chart of the Saint George's Channel containing a Particular Description Of the bearings of each Point of Land by the Common Compass as well as the true Meridain Line, and their distances from each other: With the Depth of the Water, Harbours &c. Corrected from actual Surveys, experienced Pilots, &ca. And Published by Capt[ai]n Rob[er]t Williamson of Liverpool 1766. To the most High, most Puissant, an most Illustrious Prince Edward Hugustus Duke of York & Albany &c &c next Brother of his most Sacred Majesty, King George III, and Vice Admiral of the Blue Squadron of his Fleet &c &c. This Plate by Permission is humbly inscribed by his most Obedient and Dutifull Serv[an]t Robert Williamson. This Chart, before published, was shown to and approved by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations; which is certified by John Pownall Esq. the Principal Secretary, Whitehall July 10, 1766.

British Isles Wales
  • Author: WILLIAMSON, Captain Robert
  • Publication place: Liverpool
  • Publisher: Published accord[in]g to Act of Parliament
  • Publication date: Jan[uar]y 1767.
  • Physical description: Large sea chart on six sheets, dissected and mounted on linen, fine original full-wash colour, insets of principal Welsh and Irish ports, large insets of Liverpool, Dublin, and Waterford, inset chart of the Firth of Clyde, dedications to the Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, John Crosbie Major of Liverpool, and John Earl of Bute, within chart.
  • Dimensions: 1240 by 1930mm (48.75 by 76 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1185


By the middle of the eighteenth century, the Channel had become one of the busiest waterways in the world, with the ports of Bristol, Liverpool, Dublin and Waterford growing rich on the Atlantic trade in sugar and slaves, and the burgeoning industrial revolution.

This beautiful chart “engraved on Six sheets of large Elephant Paper” was at the time of printing the largest and most accurate chart of the St George’s Channel. The chart not only contains information on soundings, sand banks, and the times of the tides, but also depicts the defeat of the Francois Thurot, Captain of the ‘Maréchal de Belle-Isle’, who had been terrorizing British interests since the start of the Seven Years War. Thurot met his end at the hands of HMS Pallas, HMS Brilliant, and HMS Aeolus, who caught up with him off the northern coast of the Isle of Man; during the action Francois Thurot was killed by a musket ball and his body thrown overboard. Also depicted is the ‘Author [Captain Robert Williamson] Ship Wreck’t [sic] Jan. 21. 1748 occassioned by the Errors of the Drafts then Extant’ at Dundran Bay on the Irish coast. Little is known about the author of the chart, Captain Robert Williamson, save that he was a captain of some considerable experience of St George’s Channel; and who saw, from bitter personal experience, the need for its accurate charting.

We are only able to trace two institutional examples, one in the British Library and the other in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.


  1. BLMC Maps 1104.(6.)
  2. BNF Collection d'Anville, 01916 B.