ONE OF CARY’S EARLIEST WORKS, VERY RARE. 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 was apprenticed to William Palmer from 1770-77. His very earliest works were engravings for or publications in partnership with others. His first sole publication was a very rare road book displaying the route from London to Falmouth published in 1784.
This map of Surrey is his sole new publication in 1785 and is also very rare. Here Cary uses the Meridian of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is drawn to a scale of three quarters of an inch to the mile and includes not only the whole county but rudimentary outlines of the suburbs of London north of the river Thames. Numbered mile markers are placed on the main roads and individual houses identified. A list of towns with markets and their details appears lower right and two further tables list the parishes found in each Hundred. An ornate compass rose on the right is decorated with farm implements; a sickle, hay-rake, shepherd’s crook, stalks and ears of wheat and barley and a small cask. The title is placed in a plain circle upper left.
An interesting anecdote lower right records a Mr. Smyth as a London silversmith who made a lot of money. Nicknamed ‘Dog Smyth’ after the dog which followed him around, he left the business and took to begging around the county. In his will had left 50 pounds per annum to the poor of all the market towns in Surrey, and a further sum to every other parish. However, this excluded Mitcham as he was whipped there as a common vagrant! Henry Smith (1549-1628) founded in his will the Henry Smith Charity in 1628. It is still running and according to the ODNB distributed £25.9 million in 2010! Rodger records an earlier issue without title which is likely a proof. There were no later issues. Fordham (1925) p. 19-20; ODNB; Rodger (1972) 437; Sharp (1929) p. 24; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).