Oblong octavo, 2 parts in one volume, (132 x 175 mm.), full contemporary calf, triple fillet border on sides in blind and gilt, gilt arabesque in centre with initials R. H. stamped in blind, flat spine in ruled compartments, green silk ties, spine ends repaired, staining to covers, ties worn. ff. (4), 110, (4, 1 in facsimile), 13, (1). With engraved vignette of a globe on title and arms of Richard Gargrave on verso, 125 full-page engraved maps, the first two unnumbered, P8, the second leaf of table in pt. I, lacking but supplied in contemporary manuscript and in facsimile, title soiled, soiling and damp affecting many leaves at bottom and outer margin causing page edges to fray, many repaired, lower corner of final leaf torn away, without final blank R8.
A very rare work being the FIRST ATLAS OF THE WORLD IN ENGLISH. The John Norton edition of the miniature Ortelius was printed for him by Henricus Swingius in Antwerp. Both this and the 1603 James Shawe English edition appear to be printed by him as the same printers device is seen (c.1601 P6v, 1603 Q6v). It could not have appeared later than April 1603 when the dedicatee ‘Mr’ Richard Gargrave was knighted at York by King James on his journey south from Scotland in one of the earliest acts of his reign. The colourful Gargrave, who died a pauper having once owned vast estates in Yorkshire, was soon made the King’s High Sheriff for the county. His sister was maid-of-honour to Queen Anne. The connection would seem to predate James’ accession and there is an obscure reference in the dedicatory preface to giving ‘encouragement in the north, and ere long you shall see him come ouer in another habit, to try what acceptance the south will affourd him’. That appears to hint at Gargrave’s early and subsequently rewarded support for the Stuart succession. On bibliographical grounds the book resembles so closely in format and collation the Antwerp Latin edition printed by Swingius in 1601 – even the look of the text of the Flemish licence (P6v) having been replaced in the English edition with a standard printer’s ornament (or perhaps vice-versa: Norton’s title page specifically claims that the new maps are ‘wanting in the Latin editions’). This date also seems probable for the London edition, particularly as it can be shown that Gargrave made a visit to London on official business in that year. His connection with Norton, who became the Printer to King’s James, is otherwise perhaps an unlikely one. Only the one complete example has appeared at auction in 30 years (Wardington £19,600), the two others were incomplete lacking 13 and 16 maps respectively, the last one appearing in 1986. Provenance: The initials ‘R.H.’ blind stamped on the binding; ‘Walter Jening 1618’ inscription on the title; ‘John Jening, 8 January 1622’ two inscriptions on verso of final leaf; ‘Tho: More’ inscription on the title with crossed out price of 5s 6d; ‘Sarah More’ signature on verso of final leaf; bookplate of Jasper More (d.1987), Linley Hall, Shropshire, pasted inside front cover. ESTC S120945; Koeman III Ort. 62; van der Krogt 332:31; Phillips Atlases 418; Shirley BL T.Ort 2m; Skelton ‘Bibliographical note’ to Abraham Ortelius: ‘The Theatre of the Whole World’ (London, 1606), Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1968, pp. v-xxii; Skelton ‘The first English world atlases’ in Karl-Heinz Meine, ed., ‘Kartengeschichte und Kartenbearbeitung: festschrift zum 80 geburstag von Wilhelm Bonacker’, Bade Godesburg: Kirschbaum Verlag 1968, pp. 77-81; Worms ‘The London Map Trade to 1640’, in ‘History of Cartography’ III chapter 57.