Small quarto (240 x 190 mm.), contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards, rebacked with gilt ruled bands, title and date. With engraved pictorial title and Index, Preface and 49 engraved maps including a newly introduced folding map of England and Wales by Thomas Jefferys, ALL IN EARLY WASH COLOUR, each accompanied by a leaf of descriptive text, and a larger folding distance chart, with foxing throughout, offsetting to first general map, old repaired tear to tables.
VERY RARE EDITION. This small and attractive atlas was first published November 1748 in thirteen weekly parts by a consortium of nine publishers. No copy of this version survives and it seems likely that Jefferys and Kitchin took over the project at an early date. At some point before the publication of the second edition in 1751 alterations were made to some of the plates. During the issue of this 1751 edition plate numbers were added. The atlas proved popular, running to 7 editions, with various changes and additions. Hodson records it still being in the stock of Robert Wilkinson in 1825. Robert Sayer no doubt acquired his interest in the publication following the death of Thomas Jefferys in 1771. In 1776 Sayer with his partner at the time John Bennett first published a work entitled ‘An English Atlas’, this survives in just one known example (private English collection). This larger format work includes interleaved descriptive text with details of market towns and fairs below, all but the chart in original hand-colouring and all the same series of maps in an unfolded state.
At some time prior to his death in 1787 Bennett left the partnership and possibly spurred by the immanent publication of John Cary’s ‘New and Correct English Atlas’ Sayer published a new edition of this work in 1787. For this only one entirely new map of England and Wales by Jefferys is inserted. There is also a large folding triangular distance table engraved by Philip Luckombe (1730-1803). It is not present in the only known example of the first edition under this title of 1776 or in the Cambridge University Library example of this issue cited by Hodson. Hodson records two further issues. In the first the folding chart by Luckombe bears a new imprint of Laurie and Whittle dated 1794. In the second, offered here the general map now bears the imprint of Laurie and Whittle dated 1796. However, in this example the table is in its earlier state with Sayer’s imprint dated 1786. The title remains unaltered and is still dated 1787 but the index is now corrected, Hertfordshire numbered ’19’ now precedes that of Herefordshire ’20’. The three of islands at the end remain out of numerical order. PROVENANCE: private English collection. Chubb (1927) no. 259; Hodson (1984-97) no. 216; refer Shirley (2004) T.Kit 2a (not in BL); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).