Octavo (200 x 125 mm.), old half red calf, cloth boards, blind ruled, rebacked with gilt title, later endpapers. With typographic title page (finger marks), Contents leaf, and 46 maps, one unnumbered double page general map, 40 maps of the English counties, Wales, 2 maps comprising Scotland and 2 of Ireland (Yorkshire and all general maps double page), all in early wash colour, left half of the British Isles torn away, left half of Yorkshire pasted from another example, both sheets of Scotland damaged, light foxing affecting some maps, otherwise in good condition.
FIRST EDITION. This extremely rare atlas by Richard Phillips (1767-1840) appeared in just the one edition in 1808. It contains a series of maps engraved by Henry Cooper (fl.1804-19). The same series of maps are also found in ‘A Topographical Dictionary of the United Kingdom’, also published by Phillips in 1808. Phillips was born in London, although of a Leicestershire family and founded the ‘Leicestershire Herald’ in 1792. However, the following year he was sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling Thomas Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’! After his sentence his house and business burnt down and with the insurance money he moved back to London. He became Sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1807 and received a knighthood the following year.
In 1809 his fortunes turned and on 28 July 1810 a fire at his printers destroyed much of his stock. It was believed to have been insurance fraud, no doubt considering the claim earlier in his career. He was declared bankrupt in later in the year. Only the one recorded example of this work is known in the Cambridge University Library, although we have handled examples in 2008 and 2017. Provenance: faint ownership inscription to the title repeated twice; private English collection. Refer Beresiner (1983) p. 80; Carroll (1996) 64; ODNB; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).