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GORTON, John

A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland, compiled from Local Information, and the Most Recent and Official Authorities

Chapman & Hall, 186, Strand, London, 1833
Octavo, three volumes (215 x 135 mm. each), full contemporary calf, blind and gilt panelled boards, spines with raised bands, each compartment with ornate gilt decoration, upper board to volume 3 loose, gilt green calf title and volume labels to each. With typographic title, Preface, List of Maps, pp. xx, (2), 110, 760; (2), 876; (2), 875, (3), 20, 45, (1), 88, with 54 double page maps by Sidney Hall, some with light print offset, early outline colour, some minor offsetting, but otherwise a good example.
Sidney Hall (1788?-1831) began his career as an engraver for the Arrowsmith family. Hall was a prolific engraver of the period and according to Worms and Baynton-Williams ‘was almost certainly the first engraver to use the new harder steel plates for map work, using plates manufactured by the Jacob Perkins process as early as 1821’. His first county maps were those published by Samuel Leigh in 1820 in ‘Leigh’s New Picture of England and Wales’, a miniature county atlas which proved a success.

This series of maps was engraved for John Gorton’s ‘Topographical Dictionary’ issued in parts from 1831-32. The publishers were Chapman and Hall, there is no known familial link between the two Hall’s. We cannot conclude for sure that Sidney Hall engraved all of the plates as his will was proved 26 March 1831. The dates on the maps vary between 1830 and 1832. His widow Selina Hall was also an engraver and as she signed hers ‘S. Hall’ it is difficult to tell. The maps are bound alphabetically with those of Yorkshire, Ireland, Scotland and Wales consisting of two plates. A final general map of ‘Inland Navigation’ backed on cloth is bound at the end with a four-sheet list of canals and railways. As early as 1833 the list records 36 railways, each recording the date of opening. Ireland, Scotland and Wales are in 2 sheets as is that of Yorkshire. Population statistics are given from the Census for 1831. Carroll (1996) 94; Chubb (1927) 451; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 9938

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