Smyth, William Henry

Complete 4-sheet set of Sardinia Capt W H Smyth

The Island of Sardinia by Captain W. H. Smyth R.N. K.S.F. assisted by Messrs Elsen, Slater, and Graves

DESCRIPTION: Exceedingly rare and complete set of four nautical charts of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia by Captain William Henry Smyth based on his hydrographic survey of Sardinia for the Royal Navy during 1823 and 1824. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean and one of 20 regions of Italy.

Whatman Turkey Mill watermark (date illegible) on one of four sheets. Complete set of four, ea. ~ 17" x 24". Elson and Graves are co-authors for all four charts. Slater is credited on the chart of the entire Island.

In 1828 Smyth published a book on the political history of Sardinia- "Sketch of the present state of the Island of Sardinia" [1]. Smyth references a four chart set in the introduction to his "Sketch":
… in conclusion it may not be unnecessary to state that my Nautical Survey of Sardinia has just been published, on four sheets, at the Hydrographical office of the Admiralty. As no pains have been spared in the construction, it is hoped that these charts will be found equal to every purpose of Navigation. [Smyth's chart titles are used here:]
  • A general chart of the Island, "The Island of Sardinia"
  • "The South Coast of Sardinia"
  • "The North East Coast of Sardinia"
  • "The Gulf of Asinara on the N. W. Coast of Sardinia"
Small traces of manuscript pencil notations attesting to real-life use of this chart while at sea. Well-executed early to mid 20th-century conservation with the chart laid to linen and protected via a thin-film lamination process. After experience with the lamination process over time, lamination is not now considered to be a effective document conservation procedure.

[1] Captain William Henry Smyth. London. John-Murray. 351 pp.


Captain William Henry Smyth(1791-1856)

Captain (later Admiral) William Henry Smith (1788 - 1865) became known as "Mediterranean Smyth" because of the large number of charts published by the Hydrographical Office of the British Admiralty based on Smyth's surveys of the Mediterranean coasts during the period 1813 - 1824.

W. H. Smyth was esteemed by Captain P. P. King who named Smyth Harbor after him. Captain Smyth commanded the Adventure before King and was an early member of a number of learned societies, well known for his hydrographic charts, for his astronomical work, and for a wide range of publications in varied fields.

W. H. Smyth was descended paternally from Captain John Smith who was a key figure in the early colonization of North America by the British. John Smith was the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area. [1]


CREATOR: Smyth, William Henry



BODY OF WATER: Mediterranean Sea

CONDITION: Good.  Linen backed. Thin-film laminated. Smooth reflective surface. Age-toned. No holes or losses. Small traces of handling at top.


ENGRAVER: J. and C. Walker

SIZE: 17 " x 24 "


PRICE: $6000


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