Quarto (310 x 250 mm.), contemporary half calf marbled boards, ornate blind ruled, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled compartments, decorated blind compartments, gilt title. With engraved title page, dedication, Advertisement, contents leaf, pp. 17 of ‘Directions for the Junction of the Roads of England and Wales, Through all the Counties’, ‘Market and Borough Towns’, ‘Principal Post and Sub-Post-Towns’, map of South Britain (inserted) and 43 county maps on 44 plates (West Riding being on two plates) and both North and South Wales, 47 maps in total, all in early outline colour, each accompanied by a leaf of descriptive text, with waterstain to lower corner of first 6 leaves, 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 was apprenticed to William Palmer from 1770-7. 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.
The ‘New and Correct English Atlas’ by Cary was first published in 1789, the title page being dated 1787. It proved very popular and was constantly amended with new information. By the early 1800s the copper plates had been used so much that an entirely new series was produced. It is as far as I am aware the only case where a complete set of engraved maps had to be replaced due to wear. This is an example of the first edition dated 1809. An innovative feature he introduced in this series was to place a letter at the exit point of a road from the county. This letter would correspond to that found on the neighbouring county. This was an early form of numbering the roads. This therefore is the first edition of the new series of copper plates. Provenance: private English collection. Carroll (1996) 65; Chubb (1927) 264; Fordham (1925) p. 82; refer Hodson (1984-97) 286; Smith (1988).