Small quarto (185 x 125 mm.), full contemporary marbled calf, spine with ornate gilt ruled compartments, each with ornate central oval gilt decoration, with blue calf gilt title label. Original marbled endpapers. With a general map, engraved title page, Explanation, 50 full page maps, Index to place-names in two columns pp. (27). In early outline colour with some wash to woods and parks, light foxing to first general map, otherwise in good condition.
John Cary (c.1754-1835) and descendants were possibly the most prolific publishers of cartography around the turn of the nineteenth century. Cary is noted for the clarity of detail in his maps and was the first to use the Greenwich meridian. Cary had already published road books; indeed, his first publication is one showing the roads between London and Falmouth, 1784.
For this work the large scale of one inch to the mile allowed John Cary to include a great deal of detail including local side roads. As the title describes ‘every seat thereon, with the name of the Possessor … to which is added, An Index of all the Names contained in the Plates’. Each individual building is detailed. The small format allowed a broader sale as it fitted nicely into the pocket. A very useful tool even for researchers today. Twenty eight of the fifty plates were first published earlier in the year on 1 January 1786 as ‘Cary’s Actual Survey of Middlesex’. Expanded to fifty plates the title is dated 20 June 1786, however, some of the plates bear the slightly later date of 15 August 1786. The book was available as stated on the title ‘Price 8s. sewed’. There were later editions in 1800 and 1811. Provenance: manuscript ownership inscription on front free endpaper ‘Richard West, Surveyor’; private English collection. Beresiner (1983) pp. 80-2; Darlington & Howgego (1964) 183.1; ESTC T212885; Fordham (1925a) p. 22; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).