Octavo (195 x 140 mm.), full contemporary calf, gilt panelled, gilt ruled raised bands to the spine with red calf title label attached, later endpapers. Pp. 5, (3), 273. With 273 engraved plates of road strips and county maps printed back to back. Title page with small tear, maps of Berkshire and Radnor inserted from another example, otherwise a clean example.
Emanuel Bowen was one of the most prominent figures in English cartography during the middle of the eighteenth century. Since the highly influential ‘Britannia’ by John Ogilby had been first published in 1675 no smaller version had been issued. Then in the period 1718-20 a flush of four projects were conceived, three of which were completed. In 1720 Owen and Bowen’s ‘Britannia Depicta or Ogilby Improv’d’ was published. This was unquestionably the most successful. It is the only one of the three to include a set of county maps with the road strips. The author of the text was John Owen an antiquarian who had been admitted to the Middle Temple in 1718. Although known as the Owen and Bowen atlas it was in fact published jointly by Bowen and John Bowles. It had a long life running to numerous editions; this is an example of the 1736 issue. Provenance: acquired 2009 for a private English collection. Bennett (1996) pp. 40-1; Carroll (1996) 23; Chubb (1927) 153; Harley, J B (1970) Introduction to “Britannia Depicta”; Hodson (1984-97) 159; Shirley (2004) T.Bow 1i.