Greenville Collins (Captain). Great Britain's Coasting Pilot. In Two Parts. Being a new and Exact Survey of the Sea-Coast of England and Scotland from the River of Thames to the Westward and Northward, with the Isles of Scilly, and thence to Carlisle. Likewise the Islands of Orkney and Shetland..., William Mount & Thomas Page, 1744, letterpress title printed in red & black, additional decorative title with an inset map of the British Isles, dedications to the Master and Wardens of Trinity House, preface and general description, 48 uncoloured engraved charts (one set into the text), mostly double-page, four folding (English Channel, Carlingford Loch, Scilly Isles and the River Thames) and three horizon profiles, printed on thick paper, very occasional dust soiling and spotting, front endpaper and one map with early 19th-century French manuscript text to verso, contemporary panelled sheep, repaired at head and foot of spine, joints lightly cracked, corners and boards refurbished, large folio
Greenville Collins (d. 1694; fl. 1669-1693) served in the Royal Navy with Sir John Narborough in his expedition to southern South America and the Straits of Magellan where he became highly proficient at surveying and chart-making. In the early 1680s, Collins proposed that he undertake a full-scale survey of the British coastal waters. This was a priority because the majority of existing charts were out of date and were based on earlier Dutch surveys. King Charles II was persuaded of the importance of the project and funding was duly promised, and in 1681 Collins was given command of the yacht 'Merlin', and sent to survey the British coastline. The survey took seven years (between 1681 and 1688) and resulted in about 120 manuscript charts, from which were produced forty-seven engraved charts, covering most of the British Isles. Throughout the production of the 'Pilot' Collins struggled to get paid and eventually resorted to funding part of the project with his own money. Collins' work represents the first systematic survey of the coast of the British Isles created by an Englishman, as well as being the first marine atlas to be engraved and printed in London. As such it stands as a landmark in British chart-making and publishing. It also broke the reliance and dependence on Dutch maritime surveying. The 'Great Britain's Coasting Pilot' remained in print for one hundred years. This example is unusually clean, with wide margins and bound in contemporary boards.