The first graphic chart to detail heights of Mountains and Lengths of Rivers
By SMITH, C[harles] , 1817

Comparative View of the Lengths of the Principal Rivers in the World. [and] &c. in the World. (3rd Edition).

Natural History, Science & Medicine
  • Author: SMITH, C[harles]
  • Publisher: London, Published by C. Smith Mapseller No.172 Strand,

  • Publication date: Oct. 1st, 1817, [and] Aug. 1st, 1816.
  • Physical description: Two separately issued engraved charts, with fine original full wash colour.
  • Dimensions: 530 by 680mm (20.75 by 26.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 1153


Rare separately issued charts illustrating the great rivers and mountains of the world.

Although early atlases included tables listing the lengths and heights of the world’s great rivers and mountains, it was not until the early nineteenth century that rivers and mountains were graphically represented and compared. The present examples would appear to be the earliest of the genre, as they predate those listed by J.A. Wolter in his seminal work upon the subject.

Both charts are rare. We were only able to trace two institutional copies of the river chart, one in the British Library and the other at the University of Utrecht; the chart of the mountains is recorded in three examples, one at Harvard; another in the Rumsey Collection; and another in the BL.


  1. Wolter, J. A., "The Heights of Mountains and the Lengths of Rivers"
  2. BL Maps 999.(44.)
    Maps K.Top.4.40.2
  3. Maps 999.(43.).

Image gallery