Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

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Thomas Bowles II (c.1695-1767) was not the founder of the family business, his father of the same name was, but he grew the business considerably. London too was growing in prosperity and size and this plan of the city was first published in 1719 to illustrate that fact. At that time there was a fashion for double folio sized maps, a market occupied by atlases produced by Herman Moll, John Senex and George Willdey. It appears that Bowles supplied the maps loose rather than bound together although some composite collections are known to have been put together.

This issue is the first to include Cavendish Square and the development of Marylebone. Nearby is the title and both sides contain panels with all the roads keyed to the map which is dissected by a grid. Lower left are the coats of arms of the City of London surrounded by those of the 12 Companies. Lower right is an ‘Explanation and Use of the Table’ which is unusually illustrated with a ‘map’ on how to use it. Two further insets lower centre added in 1723 describe firstly the two key modes of transport in the city, the Watermen and Hackney Coaches. Different routes are listed with their charges shown. The fairs are described as being fixed by Act of Parliament. A total of 700 coaches ply the streets limited to 170 on Sundays. The second inset describes the ‘Scituation of London’ stating that is measures approximately 7.5 by 2 miles in size. It estimates about 5000 ‘Streets, Lanes & Allies’ and about 110,000 houses. The curious estimate of the number of inhabitants at 400,000 is derived from how much food is consumed!

Darlington and Howgego in their ‘Printed Maps of London’ describe a state dated 1727 followed by a further date change to 1731. In this latter example the map has been extended eastwards to “include Stepney and the Isle of Dogs”. The example offered here bears not only an unrecorded date of 1728, but an earlier extension eastwards falling short of the Isle of Dogs. It takes in Stepney and the marine district of Wapping. According to Darlington and Howgego this is derived from Gascoigne’s Survey of Stepney in 1701. Closer examination of the 1731 issue in the British Library shows that it bears two half page extension sheets, ours contains just the first. The second was clearly added for the later issue as the city was rapidly expanding eastwards at the time. It is also stated that new buildings were added in Westminster for the 1731 issue but again they are first presented here in 1728.

The plan also bears the imprint of John Bowles (c.1701-79) who was originally apprenticed to his elder brother and set up on his own around 1723. He published material frequently in partnership with his brother as here. Provenance: private English collection for 30 years. Darlington & Howgego (1964) no. 63 between states 4 & 5; Tooley’s Dictionary; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

BOWLES, Thomas

A New & Exact Plan of ye City of London and Suburbs there of, With the addition of the New Buildings, Churches & c. to this present year 1728. (Not extant in any other,) Laid down in such a method that in an Instant, may easily be found any Place contain'd therein

John Bowles at Mercers Hall in Cheapside, London, 1728
590 x 1440 mm., early outline colour, five sheets joined (three folio and two side panels), some light toning along two joins with professional restoration, minimal loss, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 8227
£ 4,500
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