This is a rare survivor of a curious medium popularized by the use of snuff. Helen Christian succinctly described the growth of the fashion for taking snuff from the late 1590s in England. After taking snuff it was required to clear your upper lip of any residue, hence the use of the silk handkerchief became popular. To disguise the discolouration these often were patterned or coloured. According to Christian the earliest known with a map upon it was produced of the United States in 1791.John Fairburn (fl.1790-c.1820) was a publisher, geographer and map seller who first traded at 146 Minories, London. He, along with his son of the same name, became synonymous with the popular production of sixpenny chapbooks. The Bishopsgate Institute holds a large collection of these. Its curator stated in 2012 that ‘All his work – without exception – was patriotic never seditious, but he was a supporter of democracy and what we would call ‘human rights,’ which he would call ‘the rights of man.’ He’s also quite clear about the equality of the sexes, supports Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and stands against ill-treatment in the Navy’ (‘John Fairburn’s Chapbooks’, Spitalfields Life, 16 September 2012, www.spitalfieldslife.com).Clearly an additional product line was printed handkerchiefs. With the increased growth in mobility occurring in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, maps of the transport network were often produced. The most popular of these were distance maps of the road network, originally populated by John Ogilby’s road book ‘Britannia’. In the same year he produced a similar one of the ‘Country Twelve Miles Round London’. Beneath the ornate cartouche is rather uniquely a description of it reading ‘A Merchant giving an unprovided Boy a Ticket to adm’t him on board one of his Ships …’ A running title above the upper margin reads ‘Fairburn’s Travelling Handkerchief’. Radiating compass directions centre on the city of London and the counties are all keyed by number to a table upper left. The whole is engraved by Ebenezer Bourne (1763?-1838). Provenance: Cheffins, Cambridge 3 April 2014 lot 396Christian (1986); Tooley’s ‘Dictionary’; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).