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CAMDEN, William

Britain, or a Chorographicall Description of the Most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Ilands adioyning ...

George Bishop and John Norton, London, 1610-[c.22]
Large quarto (345 x 240 mm.), full contemporary calf gilt panelled calf, with large ornamental central design on both boards below which is found a blind stamped monograph of ‘HL’ above which is a coronet, original spine with raised bands, with gilt ruled compartments each with central gilt design, ornate gilt title with frame, repaired. With engraved title page by William Hole with central map of the British Isles copied from that in the 1600 edition, flanked by figures of Neptune and Ceres, verso blank; dedication to King James, verso blank; typographic title page, verso blank; ‘The Author to the Reader’ pp. 4; Latin verses pp. 4; Alphabet verso blank; text paginated 1-822, one blank leaf, half-title Scotland verso blank, paginated 1-233 with another half-title for Ireland and the Smaller Ilands in the British Ocean, with 57 engraved maps and 8 plates of coins; p. (234) ‘The Shires of England’, indexes pp. 54. Complete in pp. (16), 822, (2), 234 (numbered to 233), (54). With 58 engraved maps in total, three of which are single page including the title. All maps are in the final third state with pagination on those called for. That of Gloucestershire with repair to tear upper centre, otherwise in good condition.
This is the FIRST ENGLISH EDITION of William Camden’s ‘Britannia’. It was translated from the Latin by Philemon Holland, a schoolmaster of Coventry. All of the engraved plates are the same as those in the 1607 Latin edition. The text of the 1610 edition was not exhausted for some years and during this time the plates underwent two distinct alterations. The first added a compass rose to ten maps (Cornwall, Sussex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Northants, Leicester, Rutland, Lincoln and Warwick) and a circle was added to the cruciform indicator on that of Wiltshire. The third state was created by the addition of plate numbers to all of the maps except Buckingham, Huntingdon, Shropshire, Cheshire, Radnor, Pembroke, Merionith, Denbigh, Flint, East Riding, North Riding, Scotland and Ireland. These thirteen therefore appear in just the one state throughout. That of Brecknock was replaced with another plate engraved by Robert Vaughan.

This example of the atlas is one that bears the maps in its final state. It is believed that the numbering of the plates may have been done in preparation for a reprint of the text as the second edition of Philemon Holland’s translation was registered at Stationers’ Hall in 1625. Although it would be 1637 before it was finally published. The map of Leicester with the plate number added is found in William Burton’s Description of Leicestershire, London, 1622. The map of Brecknock in this example is still from the plate engraved by William Kip.

Provenance: unidentified blind stamped monograph on both covers of ‘HL’ surmounted with a coronet, examples of this have been located on other books but without identification being made; bookplate of ‘Brown of Waterhaughs’ pasted inside front cover, most likely that of Thomas Brown of Lanfine and Waterhaughs (1774-1853), noted Scottish surgeon whose large collection of fossils was left to Glasgow University; manuscript ownership inscription below of James George Frazer (1854-1941), a social anthropologist from Scotland often thought of as one of the founding fathers of modern anthropology. Chubb 19; ESTC S107167; Hodson 6.2; Kingsley 6.3; Shirley ‘Atlases in the British Library’, T.Cam 1c; Skelton 6; Taylor ‘Late Tudor and Early Stuart Geography’ pp. 9- 13; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011) pp. 83-4, 324-5, 373-4 & 497.
Stock number: 8809

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