Waghenaer's Legacy
By LEA, Philip and Robert, MORDEN , 1779

Bowles's European Navigator Vade-Mecum or New Pocket Chart of the Sea Coast of Europe, and the Straits.

Continent of Europe Europe
  • Author: LEA, Philip and Robert, MORDEN
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed for the Proprietor Carington Bowles, No. 69 St Paul's Church Yard
  • Publication date: 29th Septemeber, 1779.
  • Physical description: Engraved charts, original hand-colour, dissected and mounted on linen.
  • Inventory reference: 20592


Rare chart of Europe and the Mediterranean based on Waghenaer’s seminal chart of those waters.

The wrk, first issued by Philip Lea and Robert Morden in around 1690, is an exceptionally rare example of a chart of European waters published by an English mapmaker.

The chart, in the portolan style with compass roses, rhumb lines, and cartographic information limited to the litoral, takes it’s inspiration from Waghenaer’s ‘Universe Europae Maritime’, the first printed chart of European waters – first published in The Netherlands in his work the ‘Spieghel der Zeevaerdt’ (1583), with an English edition appearing in 1588.

The present chart is a later state of the plate, when it had come into the possession of the Bowles family of mapmakers and publishers. It is known that following Philip Lea’s death, in 1700, the business was carried on by his wife Anne, taking Richard Glynne, the husband of her step-daughter, into partnership in 1712. The business continued until 1730, when Anne passed away. That same year the contents of the Lea’s business were put up for auction, with Thomas and John Bowles (amoung other mapseller) being eager buyers, and where they most likely came into the possession of the present chart.

No known example of the chart bearing Thomas or John Bowles imprint are known, though the plate clearly survived until the latter part of the eighteenth century, when John’s son Carington Bowles, published the present chart in 1779.

Carington Bowles has reworked the plate, re-engraving the dedication and title, and added several place names to the continent including: Danish Lapland; Russian Lapland; Lithuania; and Polish Prussia. This reflects the changing political landscape especially regarding the the First Partition of Poland, which occured in 1772.

States of the chart

State 1 – imprint of Morden and Lea c1695
State 2 – Morden imprint erased and dedicatee Edward Russell now Earl of Orford, a title he was raised to in April of 1697. c1697
State 3 – imprint of Carington Bowles, title and dedication re-engraved, new country names added to the continent.


We are only able to trace one institutional example of the present chart: The Spanish National Library. We are unaware of another example of the chart appearing on the market since the Second World War.