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The Mapping of North America

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BOWEN, Emanuel

A Complete System of Geography

William Innys, Richard Ware [& others], London, 1747
Folio, 2 volumes (425 x 280 mm. each), contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards, gilt ruled, spines with raised bands, gilt ruled compartments, red and black calf gilt labels, marbled endpapers, light wear. With typographic titles printed in red and black, Dedication to the King signed ‘The Authors’ (variant), 7 pp. Preface, ‘A List of the Maps’, 8 pp. Introduction, pp. xi, (1), xxviii, 1013, (3); (4), 804, (24), with 30 plates (2 engraved plates and 28 maps or which 13 double page); vol. 2 with 40 maps of which 34 are double page. With light worming to upper margin of first few pages of volume 1 effecting two world maps, some leaves of volume 1 with light water-staining to lower edge, p. 399 in first volume defective at lower outer corner with minor loss to side-notes, p. 113 in second volume with tear, maps of the north east of America and the North Pole bound upside down, some light browning here and there but generally a good example in attractive contemporary binding.
FIRST EDITION. This work was first issued in parts for nineteen individuals as listed on the title page. Amongst them were the publishers William Innys, Aaron War, J. and P. Knapton, Thomas Osborne, Andrew Millar, John and James Rivington. As the title states ‘This work; extracted from several hundred books of travels and history, is brought down to the present time; preserving all that is useful in the fourth and last edition of the ‘Compleat Geographer’, publish’d under the name of Herman Moll’. It also states ‘The whole illustrated with seventy maps, by Emanuel Bowen, Geographer to His Majesty, being all new-drawn and Ingraved according to the latest discoveries and surveys; making, of themselves, a complete atlas’. Despite this statement the map of England bears the imprint of Thomas Kitchin and in Shirley’s opinion others are engraved by the same hand.

Emanuel Bowen (1693?-1767) was one of the most prominent figures in English cartography during the middle of the eighteenth century. A study of its original issue in Parts needs to be undertaken. The text and maps each bear in this first edition part numbers which are not bound in sequentially. That for the map does not match the relevant text either. The Privilege granted the work dates from 1743 and the first title page is dated 1744 in the British Library example. The work includes fascinating maps of both the Americas and Asia. This issue is the variant with ‘The Authors’ at end of Preface. PROVENANCE: engraved pictorial bookplate of Teston Library, collected by Daniel Fearing, possibly the house of the same name near Maidstone, Kent. ESTC T140529; Phillips 603; Shirley (2004) T.Bow 2a; Worms and Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 8823


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