Emanuel Bowen’s Large English Atlas was proving very popular, however the reduced size Royal English Atlas had not succeeded. It was Joseph Ellis with the New English Atlas who had found a lucrative market. By 1767 several editions had already been published. Emanuel Bowen (1693?-1767) set about producing a similar quarto sized atlas. Bowen’s financial position however did not allow him the luxury of publishing an entire work and instead he did as many others in the eighteenth century and issued it in parts. Richard Gough wrote in his British Topography in 1780 that ‘Bowen, reduced by family extravagances, and almost blind through age, had begun to engrave [the Atlas Anglicanus]. Emanuel Bowen died on 8 May 1767, the project was continued by his son Thomas. However, towards completion Thomas Kitchin (1718-84) stepped in and acquired the work which was published as the Atlas Anglicanus in 1768.
There is some debate about the reliability of the date 1777 printed on the title of this edition. Thomas Kitchin senior moved to live in St. Albans sometime later in the year 1768. He left the business in the hands of his son Thomas Bowen Kitchin (fl. 1766-81) with whom he entered partnership. The Holborn address had transferred to William Hawkes by November of 1776, as an advert in the London Evening-Post for 16-19 November 1776 offers a map of New York stating, ‘W. Hawkes (successor to T. Kitchin, hydrographer to the King) at No.59 Holborn-Hill’. Hawkes had been apprenticed to the younger Kitchin. After 1776, many of the Kitchin plates began to appear in new hands, Hawkes himself did not stay in the building more than a year as a new tenant took over in 1778. Hawkes’ name does not appear anywhere in connection to the work. It might be concluded that the plates were sold to Andrew Dury (fl.1754-77), whose name appears on the title page, but that the old address was kept as the main distribution point. Only one map had an altered imprint, that of the roads now bears that of Andrew Dury’s. The date 1777 may reflect the not uncommon practice of placing the following year’s date on a work if issued late in the previous year. Dury himself signed his will on 21 September 1777 which was proved 14 February 1778. Dury’s business was continued by his widow Jane Smith for a short time. Provenance: private English collection. Chubb (1927) 233; ESTC T163466; Hodson (1984-97) 255; Shirley (2004) T.Bow 5b; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).