Quarto, 4 volumes (280 x 225 mm. each), full old cloth, retaining publisher’s gilt red calf titles. With typographic half title and full title (to each volume), Preface, List of Subscribers, pp. (v)-lxviii, 572; (4), 538; (4), 652; (4), 634, further half and full titles to remaining volumes, with 45 engraved maps including large folding engraved general map of England and Wales (small binders tear as usual), 40 engraved maps of the counties, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and London (Yorkshire and London large folding, 12 others folding), foxing to the maps, text pages generally clean and overall a good example.
FIRST EDITION. Samuel Lewis (1782-1865) was likely born in Abingdon, Berkshire, and was later described as being ‘a man of no education’. He was the successful publisher of the Topographical Dictionary first published here in 1831. The maps themselves may be found bound in the four volume work, or separately in a slimmer fifth volume with or without its own title. The maps are often referred to as Creighton-Walker’s. Robert Creighton was the draughtsman and Thomas Starling, John and Charles Walker were the engravers. Chubb omits listing the maps of Guernsey and Jersey present in all examples. The large folding plan of London is of particular note. That of Hampshire is filed alphabetically under its title Southampton. Lewis would later claim that compiling the work took him six years at a cost of £48,000.
In 1839 he brought a successful suit against Archibald Fullarton’s New and Comprehensive Gazetteer issued 1833-37 for plagiarism. It was a landmark case in defining copyright law for works of reference. Lewis would publish similar works on Wales in 1833, Ireland in 1837 and Scotland in 1846. Provenance: with inscription of Mrs Fenwick inside upper board of final volume. Beresiner (1983) pp. 144-148; Carroll (1996) 93; Chubb (1927) 430 (omitted to list the maps of Guernsey and Jersey); Darlington & Howgego (1964) 330.1; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).