An example of the FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. This atlas was first published in 1767 as the ‘Atlas Anglicanus’ in response to Ellis’ popular English Atlas first published in 1765. The ‘Atlas Anglicanus’ like many projects at the time began life by being published in monthly numbers. Each contained three maps with, apart from the first (and Sussex), part numbers being engraved on them. Until recently no example of the parts issue had been located and the only evidence we had for its issue came from a contemporary account of Gough and two located adverts. Then in 2004 a complete set of the parts came up in an auction in Christies, London. They now reside in a private collection. The presence of the same number on three maps caused some confusion for earlier cartobibliographers, notably Chubb who surmised that they represented pigeonholes in the printing office! Shortly after production began Emanuel Bowen died, his death on 8 May 1767 was reported in the ‘London Magazine’. The project was continued by his son Thomas although the issues were becoming somewhat irregular towards the end.
Near completion Thomas Kitchin (1718-84) stepped in and appears to buy the rights to the atlas, the last part is issued 29 July 1768 with a title page indicating Kitchin as sole publisher. Kitchin was originally apprenticed to Emanuel Bowen in 1732 and would marry his master’s daughter, Sarah, in 1739. Quite soon the pupil’s output became prolific including several high-quality English county atlases. Bowen was successful too and despite the death of Sarah in 1761 the ties between Bowen and Kitchin would remain close. But whilst Bowen’s wealth declined over the years Kitchin remarried into a wealthy Baptist family. The maps are reductions of those published in the ‘Royal English Atlas’, themselves reductions of the ‘Large English Atlas’, both great works. After acquiring the ‘Atlas Anglicanus’ Kitchin immediately undertook the task of adding his imprint to all the maps. Examples of the first edition of the atlas usually contain some or all the maps with his imprint, this example however bears none and is therefore a true first issue. Very few examples survive in this state, in all my years I have ONLY LOCATED THREE EXAMPLES. One other I have handled twice and is now in a private collection, this example and one in another private collection. Chubb (1927) 232; Hodson (1984-97) 254; Shirley (2004) T.Bow 5a.