Quarto (220 x 160 mm.), later light brown half calf, marbled paper boards, spine with raised bands, double gilt lined compartments and red calf gilt label. With double-page engraved title page, Index and 57 engraved maps on forty-eight leaves with 16 folding. All in approximate alphabetical order. Light foxing and staining in one or two places, main roads coloured blue on many maps, folding map of Norfolk with split double fold, engraved throughout, in good condition.
The mid-eighteenth century witnessed an increased market for travelling pocket atlases. Those of Herman Moll, Joseph Ellis and Thomas Kitchin’s ‘Atlas Anglicanus’ were directed at that market. The latter atlas was still somewhat large and in 1769 Kitchin (1719-84) published a new and quite different atlas entitled ‘Kitchin’s Pocket Atlass [sic]’. It was smaller in format but did however include a new feature. All of the maps were drawn on the same scale, as the title claims ‘Drawn to One Scale. By which the true proportion they severally bear to each other may be easily ascertained’. It was an idea ahead of its time though as sales proved poor and the number of surviving examples is an indication of this. Normally the engraving of county maps would use an earlier series as a source. This however was not practical as all of the scales would have been different. How to achieve this was solved by using Kitchin’s own four-sheet map of England and Wales published in 1752.
As was often the case at the time languishing material in the market was often picked up by Carington Bowles (1724-93). For this Bowles edition, the title page was slightly reworded and each map now bears the title ‘Bowles’s Reduced Map of …’ Also plate numbers have been added to each map. The dating of this edition has always challenged carto-bibliographers. It was originally catalogued as circa 1785 by Chubb in 1927 but this was revised by Hodson to circa 1778 in 1997. The evidence for this was its referral in the undated edition of ‘Bowles’s Post-Chaise Companion’ which can be dated between 1771 and 1782. In 2007 Bonhams, London, auctioned an example of ‘Bowles’s Pocket Atlas’ which bore manuscript ownership inscriptions of a John Laroche, 1774. This is currently the most accurate information we have. Chubb (1927) no. 256; Hodson (1984-97) no. 259; Shirley (2004) T.Kit 5b.