Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

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BOWEN, Thomas & Emanuel
Bowles’s New Medium English Atlas; or, Complete Set of Maps of the Counties of England and Wales
Carington Bowles at his Map and Print Warehouse, No. 69, in St. Paul's Church Yard, London, 1785
Quarto (270 x 220 mm.), full contemporary tree calf, gilt ruled, rebacked with gilt ruled raised bands and gilt label to spine, corners with light wear, signs of light damage to back board. With 44 copper engraved maps in early outline colour. Overall a very fresh example.
A beautiful example of ‘Bowles’s New Medium Atlas’. 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, the 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. The presence of the same number engraved on three maps caused some confusion for earlier cartobibliographers, notably Chubb who surmised that they represented pigeon holes in the printing office! Shortly after production began, Emanuel Bowen (c.1693-1767) died; his death on 8 May 1767 was reported in the ‘London Magazine’. The project was continued by his son Thomas (c.1733-90) although the issues were becoming somewhat irregular towards the end.

Near completion Thomas Kitchin (1718-84) steps in and appears to buy the rights to the atlas, the last part is issued 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 in to 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 atlases. Carington Bowles acquired the plates sometime before 1785 and immediately set about revising them. The title cartouche are all changed, the imprints brought up to date and all now are numbered upper right to 44. The compass roses are now more uniform in style throughout and distances have been erased being replaced by those from London to the major cities.

The atlas faced stiff competition from the continued presence of the Ellis atlas and the introduction of the hugely popular ‘New and Correct English Atlas’ by John Cary in 1787. Bowles priced his atlas at £1 16s, whilst the Ellis was 10s 6d and even the new Cary atlas was £1 10s. This atlas is therefore considerably rarer than that of the Cary in particular. A particularly good example of the atlas. Provenance: with bookplate inside front cover of the Wild family of Canterbury and Lewisham. Chubb (1927) 232; ESTC T301089; Hodson (1984-97) 256; Shirley (2004) T.Bow 5d; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 7340
£ 4,950

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