KING'S SURVEY

THE KING’S SURVEY OF THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

The King’s Survey of the Channel Islands, known locally as the Legge report was produced for Charles the Second in 1680.

It is, without question, the most beautiful book about the Channel Islands ever made and this handmade, first, limited edition consists of just 275 copies.

The King’s Survey won the British Book Award for Best Limited Edition and Fine Binding in 2011.

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THE ARTIST’S ORIGINALS

In 1679 King Charles II ordered a survey of the Channel Islands and their defences, harbours and forts. He was concerned that there should be “a consultation of all the ablest pilots of Normandy and Brittany to know what ports the King of France might make useful to his fleet”.

George Legge, later Earl of Dartmouth, and his fellow engineer Sir Bernard de Gomme set off from Portsmouth, taking with them the artist, cartographer and military engineer, Thomas Phillips. The lavishly illustrated work he created for the king became known in the Channel Islands as The Legge Report.

The book, part report and part pictorial atlas, contains numerous carefully crafted watercolours of the Channel Islands, their approaches, forts and harbours, executed by Phillips as he sailed between the islands.

Thomas Phillips was hugely ambitious and this was a great opportunity to impress the King. He transformed what should have been a standard military survey into a stunning manuscript, ideally suited to the theatricality and flamboyance of Charles’ court. His use of colour washes, his eye for detail and his extraordinary birds eye views make this the most beautiful of all Channel Island books.

Thomas Phillips’ originals are kept safe in the library at the National Maritime Museum and we are extremely grateful to the library for allowing us to reproduce them, making our edition the definitive collection of this hugely under sung artist.

CREATING THE FACSIMILE

To create this new edition of the King’s Survey each copy was laid flat and each individual page was filmed using a large-format digital camera at a resolution of over 80 million pixels. The resulting digital files were then carefully manipulated and resized, so that the images, which had come from three different sources, now looked as if there were all from the same book.

 

The book was printed on specialist archive-quality, acid-free paper, with the foldouts on a heavier stock. This enabled our printer to recreate the original images in all their detail and with stunning clarity. Each volume was then quarter-bound by hand in top-grade leather and finished with a handmade marbled paper, created especially for this edition and which are a different colour for each of the four different versions.

 

Each finished book measures approximately 21″ high x 15″ wide and over 2” deep and includes some 38 reproductions of Thomas Phillips’ watercolour illustrations, which fold out from twice page size to over three and a half page size, an impressive 51”.

THE KING’S COPY

Legge’s report itself is concise and to the point, outlining the action the Crown must take to safeguard the Islands. He also includes documents entitled “Brief State of Guernsey” and “Some short observations on the Island of Jersey”.

 

The text covers the ecclesiastical, legal and civil administrations of the Bailiwick including the Royal Charters, the Papal Bull of 1480, the roles of the Crown Officers and the standing orders for manning the garrison. There are lists of the clergy, the masters of all vessels belonging to the Islands, the officers of the court and the governors to the year 1680. The result is a fascinating collection of old Channel Island names many of which we recognise today: de Sausmares, Guille, Le Mesurier, Gosselin, de Beauvoir, Falla, Mansell, Le Marchant, Carey, de L’Isle, Mahy and many more which resonate down the ages.

 

The King’s copy, produced from the artist’s originals was completed in early 1680. It now resides in the British Library and the perfect conditions in which it is kept means that each image is in pristine condition and the colours are as vibrant as the day they were painted. Later a copy was made for Guernsey’s Royal Court. This facsimile edition comprises of images taken from all three sources to produce a definitive, first, comprehensive edition, containing all of Thomas Phillips illustrations.

 

THE EDITIONS
LIMTED TO 275 IDENTICAL COPIES OF THE BOOK AVAILABLE IN FOUR DIFFERENT VERSIONS
THE PILOTS EDITION

The Pilots Version, covered in a blue marbled paper, limited to 75 copies.

The other three versions each come complete with a set of additional half sized prints, approximately 11.5” x 16.5”, taken from the illustrations in the book and numbered to match the number of the book.

THE GUERNSEY EDITION

covered in a green marbled paper, comes complete with 4 half-size prints of Thomas Phillips’ illustrations of Guernsey including maps of Guernsey and Sark, held in an archival pocket within the book cover. The Guernsey Version will be limited to 75 copies.

THE JERSEY EDITION

covered in a green marbled paper, comes complete with 4 half-size prints of Thomas Phillips’ illustrations of Guernsey including maps of Guernsey and Sark, held in an archival pocket within the book cover. The Guernsey Version will be limited to 75 copies.

THE FORTRESS EDITION

covered in a brown marbled paper, comes complete with 4 half-size prints of Thomas Phillips’ illustrations of Fort Elizabeth and Castle Cornet and their ground plans, held in an archival pocket within the book cover. The Fortress Version will be limited to 50 copies.

BUY THE KING’S SURVEY OF THE CHANNEL ISLANDS

There are four versions of The King’s Survey of the Channel Islands.

THE PILOTS EDITION          £1250

THE GUERNSEY EDITION   £1500

THE JERSEY EDITION         £1500

THE FORTRESS EDITION   £1500

In addition you can order a full leather binding for £400 and a solander box for £200