“THE FATHER OF INDIAN GEOGRAPHY”: RENNELL’S MEMOIR OF A MAP OF HINDOOSTAN, 1788
RENNELL, James. Memoir of a Map of Hindoostan: or the Mogul Empire: With an Introduction, illustrative of the Geography and Present Division of the Country: And a Map of the Countries situated between the Head of the Indus, and the Caspian Sea. To Which Is Added, An Appendix, containing an Account of the Ganges and Burrampooter Rivers. London: Printed for the Author, 1788. Quarto, period style half brown calf gilt, marbled boards, burgundy spine label. $2000.
Expanded edition of Rennell’s important early geography of India, with four engraved maps, three of them folding.
Rennell was considered “‘the father of Indian geography’: for years the chief of British geographers, and constantly consulted” (DIB, 355). Rennell began his career in the British navy, later taking a commission in the army of the East India Company. “In 1764 Rennell was appointed surveyor-general of Bengal, and supervised much of the early mapping of eastern India, work which culminated in the 1780 of his famous Bengal atlas… Rennell’s Map of Hindoostan was published in 1782, and three editions of his accompanying Memoir of a map of Hindoostan appeared between 1783 and 1793. He also took a particular interest in ancient geography and in the way that river courses and coastlines had changed over the centuries” (Howgego R29). Rennell’s Map of Hindootan is “the first approximately correct map of India” (DNB). First published in 1783 with a second edition in 1785; this copy is third edition overall. A reprint of this 1788 edition appeared in 1793. With index and two errata leaves.
Interior clean and crisp. A fine copy.