Octavo (195 x 125 mm.), eighteenth century full calf, boards with ornate blind panels, rebacked with raised bands, blind ruled, red calf gilt title label affixed, speckled edged, the whole re-guarded and bound from two volumes. With double-page engraved title page, double-page Explanation, engraved double page dedication, double page Table, typographic title page printed in red and black to part II bound following plate 54, pp. (8), (2) and 100 double page copper plate engravings of roads all numbered lower right (37 incorrectly numbered 39), edges of title and dedication frayed, otherwise in good condition.
John Senex (c.1678-1740) was geographer to Queen Anne and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He began his career as a bookseller, later becoming an engraver and publisher. In 1714 he published the large folio ‘English Atlas’ which was followed by the folio ‘New General Atlas’ of 1721. On 1 January 1718/19 the ‘Daily Courant’ announced the publication of Senex’s first volume of a pocket version of John Ogilby’s ‘Britannia’ road book. This was just two days after Thomas Gardner announced his similar work entitled ‘A Pocket-Guide to the English Traveller’.
Like Gardner’s work the book contained reductions of the original Ogilby plates suitable for carrying. The first volume included 54 plates of the ‘Direct Roads from London through England and Wales’. The second volume was announced in the ‘Evening Post’ for 3-5 February 1718/19. This consisted of ‘… all the Principal Cross Roads from London through England and Wales’. A battle took place in the press at this time for the new market between the published works of Gardner and Senex and the impending work of Emanuel Bowen to be entitled the ‘Britannia Depicta’. Whilst available, some of the plates were updated. One of these is the addition of Kingston Bridge to plate 30, this is an early unaltered issue. Provenance: private English collection. Bennett (2007) pp. 37-9; Chubb (1927) 138; ESTC T186556; Fordham (1924) p. 18; Hodson (1984) I p. 80; Shirley (2004) T.Sen 3a; Smith (1991a & b); Webb (1988).