The maps from Emanuel Bowen and Thomas Kitchin’s beautiful ‘Large English Atlas’ were first issued separately. The project began at the hands of the publisher John Hinton in 1748 before he ran into financial difficulties. They are superb, clear and concise engravings. In the history of English county atlases it is hard to think of one with finer quality. Wardington praised the book saying that ‘the size of the plate presented the publishers, the engravers and the printers with as formidable a task as any posed by the finest productions of Louis XIV or XV, the best of the Dutch engravings fifty years earlier, or the Ordnance Survey sheets fifty years later’. Demand for folio maps of the English Counties in the early eighteenth century was mostly met by the old maps of Christopher Saxton, John Speed and various other seventeenth century maps. Individual large scale surveys were beginning to be published providing a ready source for accurate information. In the case of Cornwall it was based on the exceedingly rare Joel Gascoyne of 1699. Hinton clearly saw a market for a fresh set of folio maps.
In about 1748 Hinton employed the engravers Emanuel Bowen and Thomas Kitchin to engrave the maps. Hinton had already employed Bowen for the maps in the ‘Universal Magazine’ from 1747. In May 1749 Hinton announced the publication of the map of Sussex and stated that the balance would be published at the rate of one a month. By 1752 or 1753 he sold his interest and the twenty-eight maps produced to date to the printseller John Tinney. By May 1756 he too felt the financial strains of the project and brought in the most successful printseller’s of the time, Thomas Bowles, John Bowles and Son and Robert Sayer. Hodson 221 provides a thorough account of the complex history of this atlas, which was finally completed and issued with a title-page in c.1762. Because of the long publication history of the atlas the maps all appear with several different imprints. That of Cornwall is found in eight states. This example is in Hodson’s state g, the sixth state, reflecting the removal of John Bowles from the imprint below. This is best dated to 1767, the date of the earliest title page without his name. Hodson (1984-97) II 221 & p. 128; Quixley (1966) no. 31; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).