Folio (370 x 250 mm.), contemporary half red calf, cloth boards, gilt ruled with matching calf gilt title label affixed to upper board complete with royal arms, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt titles, marbled endpapers, upper board coming loose. With double page engraved title page, 5 double page typographic tables and 49 steel engraved maps comprising 3 general, 42 of English counties and Wales quartered, all in fine early wash colour, some very light foxing, Shropshire and Staffordshire from smaller paper stock, otherwise in very good condition.
John Walker (fl.1813-73) was a brother to Charles Walker (1799?-1872) and in about 1827 they formed the partnership of J. & C. Walker. They were well known engravers and publishers of the nineteenth century. They also produced engraved maps for other works including Samuel Lewis’ ‘Topographical Dictionary of England’, 1831 and Greenwood’s ‘Atlas of the Counties of England’, 1834. Their father, also John Walker, produced a number of charts for the Admiralty and was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830. Inspiration for the ‘British Atlas’ might have come from the success of the large folio Greenwood atlas. Preparation for it began in 1835 was first published jointly with Longman, Rees & Co. on 1 March 1837 and dedicated to their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria who later that year ascended to the throne. It proved to be a popular atlas with a number of editions up to 1880. Originally the atlas was issued with 47 maps; those of Scotland and Ireland were added at a later date. Sometime in the late 1840s the dates in the imprints of individual maps were all removed. In 1850 lithographic transfers were made in partnership with William Hobson to create ‘Hobson’s Fox Hunting Atlas’, another atlas which was successful. The ‘British Atlas’ however did not cease. Further editions are noted to 1880.
Despite this edition being some 37 years after the first, the engraved title remained largely unaltered since Victoria became Queen. The imprint and date at the bottom being the only notable alteration. The list of contents did not reflect the addition of maps of Scotland and Ireland some time ago. Nor did it alter following the death of the Duchess of Kent (1786-1861), who was the mother of Queen Victoria. The title next passed to the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna or Russia, when Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria, married in 1874, the year of this publication. The data in the five introductory tables also remained unaltered. Provenance: bookplate inside upper cover of Marx, pencil inscription on front free endpaper of G. F. Marx; private English collection. Beresiner (1983) pp. 232-3; not in Chubb (1927), refer 476; Nicholson (2007); Smith (1982) pp. 213-5; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).