This attractive and fascinating sea chart served as the most authoritative printed map of Bombay Harbour for much of the latter part of the 18th Century. It is based on a manuscript chart drafted around 1763 by Captain William Nichelson, who served as the Superintendent of the Royal Navy in Bombay.
The map maintains a westward perspective and the basis of the modern city is clearly shown on the southern tip of Bombay Island. Bombay was the headquarters the of East India Company’s operations in Western India, as well as being India’s busiest harbour. The British colonial governmental and military establishment is housed within the complex of Bombay Fort, neatly enclosed by walls. A little further to the north is ‘Dungaree Town’, Bombay’s commercial centre and port, with a population of around 140,000, it was a place of exceptional cultural diversity and economic dynamism.
Nichelson’s chart, with its detailed nautical information based on careful surveys, was the first generally accurate navigational chart for Bombay Harbour. It was first published around 1765 in the form of a massive eight-sheet construction, which survives today in only a handful of examples. The present example is a very rare early reduced edition of the chart.