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

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

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FIRST EDITION. One of the earliest national surveys of any kind and the first uniformly conceived cartographic survey of England and Wales. It was begun in about 1574 and completed by 1579: ‘in the long list of British atlases the first name is also the greatest, the name of Christopher Saxton’ (Chubb). Saxton (c.1542–c.1610) was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire. While the details of his early life are sketchy, it is known that he attended Cambridge University, and in 1570 he was apprenticed as a map maker to John Rudd, vicar of Dewsbury. Saxton began work on his county maps in about 1574. In 1577 he received letters patent from Elizabeth I protecting his maps against plagiarism for the next ten years. As well as the Queen’s protection, Saxton also enjoyed the patronage of Thomas Seckford, Master of the Queen’s Requests, whose mottoes are found on the maps. The maps were available singly or, after the last one was complete in 1578, bound up as here. Accordingly, the maps and other leaves are found in various states, depending on when they were printed. They are after Saxton and engraved by Remigius Hogenberg, Lenaert Terwoot, Cornelis de Hooghe, Augustine Ryther, Francis Scatter and Nicholas Reynolds. The atlas was priced at £5 in 1585. A very high price when Abraham Ortelius’ atlas was available for 10s.

In this example the Index leaf is state D (with a four-line heading and three columns), there are eighty-three coats of arms and one blank. As in most others seen at recent auction, thirteen maps bear Seckford’s pre-1576 motto (Pestis patriae pigricies), and twenty-two his later motto (Industria naturam ornat). All are in their final published state. The paper bears the normal bunch-of-grapes watermark which traditionally indicates an earlier issue.

The presence of the plate of Coats of Arms would indicate a date of issue closer to 1590, certainly no earlier than September 1589 the date in which Sir Thomas Heneage became as noted Vice-Chancellor. Indeed this date is now being debated as the date of first publication. Its distribution in the early days appears to be limited and possibly controlled by the State according to research by Peter Barber of the British Library. Few examples survive with contents dating prior to the issue of the Coats of Arms and one can see how detailed knowledge of the country could provide sensitive material to its neighbours, most particularly at the time to Spain. Of the 47 examples examined in detail in Appendix 10 of Evans & Lawrence 16 were wanting the Coats of Arms. This indicates that the majority of examples were not available until after this plate was available, c.1590. This is also interestingly after Saxton’s 10 year privilege expired in 1587. It is believed that this final stage was at the hand of Augustine Ryther who was originally the engraver of five of the plates.

Provenance: Bornem Convent, just south of Antwerp, inscription on verso of index leaf, this was a convent of English speaking friars and now survives as St. Bernard’s Abbey; Henry Cunliffe Armiger (1826-1894), bookplate; and thence by descent. Indeed it appears as is the Cunliffe family are related to the Earl’s of Rutland. In 1806 the co-heirs of the Barony of Roos, one of the titles of the Earl of Rutland, were stated in the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’ as being Sir. H. Cunliffe, the Earl of Essex and Lady H. Fitzgerald. Barber ‘Mapmaking in England, ca. 1470-1650’ in The History of Cartography volume 3 part 2 pp. 1623-31; Chubb 1; Evans & Lawrence pp. 9–43; Harley The Map Collector no. 8 pp. 2-11; Hind vol. 1 p. 73, (plts. 38-9 illustrate the two states of the title page portrait); Hodson Herts 1.1; Lawrence ‘Christopher Saxton’ in The Map Collector 27 pp. 16-18; Schilder Monumenta Cartographica Neerlandica, vol. 8. pp. 109-13 figs. 8.5, 8.8-8.10; Shirley ‘Atlases in the British Library’, T.Sax 1b-e; Skelton 1; Shirley ‘Netherlanders in Elizabethan England’, in ‘Mappae Antiquae Liber Amicorum Gunter Schilder’ pp.187-202; Tyacke & Huddy ‘Christopher Saxton and Tudor map-making’.

SAXTON, Christopher

[An Atlas of England and Wales]

Augustine Ryther, London, 1579-[c.90]
FIRST EDITION. Folio (410 x 275 mm.), full Russia binding with gilt by James Toovey, spine with gilt tooling and raised bands with morocco title label, gilt edged. With hand-coloured letterpress index (Skelton setting D) and double-page engraved plate showing coats-of-arms opposite a table of counties, on blank recto in an early manuscript hand, ‘An Index by the Englyshe Alphabett to ffinde the Severall Countries of Englande and Wales by the Pagens of the Booke’, with 35 double-page (Yorkshire folding) copper plate engraved maps, ALL WASH COLOURED IN A CONTEMPORARY HAND, mounted on stubs, lacking engraved frontispiece, 3 maps with small mostly blank area cut away from image (approximately 50 x 50 mm., Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Northumberland), all professionally repaired, 11 maps with one or more margins trimmed within plate mark to edge of rule border, 7 with small grease stain (mostly in lower corners touching border, 2 with image just affected), neat inscription (‘When this you see remember to pray for me 1718’) on verso of Staffordshire map, early monastic inscription (see below) on verso of letterpress index, otherwise in good condition with above average quality colouring.
Stock number: 7923


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