Small quarto (190 x 130 mm.), early half calf, marbled paper boards, rebacked spine with gilt ruling and blue calf gilt title label. With engraved title page, facing Explanation (with weak upper right corner), folding general map, 50 full page maps, Index to place-names in three columns pp. 13. In early outline colour with some wash to woods and parks, on nice strong paper, 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 on 1 January 1786 as ‘Cary’s Actual Survey of Middlesex’. The first edition of this expanded work with 50 plates is dated 20 June 1786. There were later editions in 1800 and 1811 as offered here. Those few plates which bore 1786 dates have here been changed to 1811. Effort has been made to correct ownership details of the properties illustrated. The book is still available at the same price ‘Price 8s. sewed’ as shown on the title page however the address is altered from 188 Strand to 181 Strand, London. The only other alteration is to the Index which is entirely reset now in three columns per page and now in only 13 pages. Provenance: with bookplate of ‘R. Whitfield, St. Thomas’s Southwark’ pasted inside front cover; private English collection. Beresiner (1983) pp. 80-2; Darlington & Howgego (1964) 183.1; ESTC T212885; Fordham (1925a Cary) p. 23; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).