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The ‘Political Magazine’ began publishing in January 1780 at the hands of John Bew, bookseller and publisher of 29 Paternoster Row, London. From the beginning, Bew was keen to continue the tradition of eighteenth century Magazines of including maps. As an engraver, he employed John Lodge ((fl.1755-96) who had previously worked for the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’. In April 1782, a map of Ireland was published, one of Scotland in October 1784 and finally England and Wales in November 1785. John Murray (1737-93) joined Bew in partnership in February 1785 and from April of that year was in sole control. January 1787 saw the publication of Middlesex, followed by the Isle of Wight and Kent by May. By then a plan had clearly formulated to publish a full series of the county maps as from the following issue of June 1787 the county maps were issued in alphabetical order virtually monthly. In October 1789 Robert Butters (fl.1772-1809) of Fleet Street took control and continued the work with the publication of Oxford through completion in December 1790 with that of Yorkshire. It was to be the very last issue of the work.

Shortly after at an unknown date the ‘Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland’ was published. This collection of maps draws on all those issued in the ‘Political Magazine’ except for those of the Isle of Wight and Isle of Man. The imprints of the ‘Political Magazine’ and of the engraver Lodge are removed from the plates entirely. The title and contents label found pasted to the upper cover of some examples also bears no name, here it is retained loose. So, who was the publisher or issuer of this work? It is usual that the plates would have been owned by the publisher of the Magazine, in this case Butters, unless the assets needed to be sold. Butters went on to publish the extremely rare ‘Atlas of England’ in 1803. But why would he wish to remove the reference to the ‘Political Magazine’ which he had owned. Perhaps it had acquired a poor reputation?

If Lodge owned the plates, he would not remove his imprints, and it is under Lodge that this work is usually listed for the lack of an alternative. Pembroke College, Oxford own an atlas compiled by Cluer Dicey with several of the county maps appearing in the first state. At first, I thought this might provide useful evidence, but it appears that they are later additions pasted on the verso of the maps issued at an earlier date. Based on a lack of an alternative it would seem likely that the plates were sold to an unknown third party who either wished to remain anonymous or never intended to publish them as an atlas. They were more than likely an acquirer of loose copper plates and sold prints and maps separately. An attribution of c.1795 to John Lodge therefore remains the best judgement available.

There is no date, although Fordham recorded an example with a watermark date of 1795 present. An examination of this example finds no dated watermarks. A rare work, research has only located examples in the British Library, Bodleian Library, Oxford, Cambridge University Library, Whitaker Library, Leeds and the National Library of Scotland. Carroll (1996) 51; Chubb (1927) 249; Hodson (1984-97) p. 70; Jolly (1990) I pp. 145-72; Shirley (2004) T.Lod 1a; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
LODGE, John

Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland

London, c.1795
Quarto (325 x 215 mm.), modern quarter calf by Temple Bindery, marbled paper boards, gilt ruled, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled compartments, black calf gilt title label, uncut. With original publisher’s typographic ‘title’ and index loosely inserted, 40 engraved maps of the English counties, old liquid stain to first and final few maps lower corner, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 10211
£ 1,750
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