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CARY, John

Cary's New and Correct English Atlas: Being A New Set of County Maps from Actual Surveys

John Cary, Engraver & Map-seller. No. 86, St. James's Street, London, 1843
Quarto (315 x 260 mm.), contemporary quarter green morocco, green cloth boards, gilt ruled spine and gilt title. With engraved title, Note with Contents on verso, ‘The Market and Borough Towns in England and Wales’ pp. 4, ‘Directions for the Junctions of the Roads of England and Wales, Through all the Counties’ pp. 10, ‘Index to the Preceding Routes’ pp. 2, a general map of South Britain bound opposite the title, 43 county maps on 44 plates (West Riding being on two plates) and both North and South Wales, 47 maps in total, each with a leaf of descriptive text. In good condition.
THE ONLY KNOWN EXAMPLE OF THE FINAL EDITION. John Cary (c.1754-1835) and descendants were possibly the most prolific publishers of cartography around the turn of the eighteenth century. 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. As far as I am aware only one other case is known where a complete set of engraved maps had to be replaced due to wear. That was also by Cary, with the Traveller’s Companion. It is a measure of the success of the atlas. The first edition of this new work was published in 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 and a note to that effect is placed on the verso of the Contents page.

There were several later editions. The premises on the Strand burned down in a fire on 17 January 1820 as the business was planning to move to new premises at 86 St. James’s Street. Shortly after George Cary became active in the business, although it is not known for sure this is believed to be his son (1787-1859) and not his brother (c.1753-1830). George was joined by his brother John Cary 2 (1791-1852). Their father John Cary, bought a house on the Kings Road in Chelsea about the same time and died in 1835. Editions occurred at regular intervals in 1821, 1823, 1825, 1826, 1827, 1829 and 1831. Then a hiatus until two final recorded editions of 1840 and 1843. The only known example of the 1840 edition recorded by Hodson (1977) at Bournemouth Public Library has been lost, however a copy was recorded as sold at Sotheby’s London 8 March 1982 lot 7 for £180, its current location is unknown. Similarly, the example of this last edition recorded as being in the Colchester Public Library is also lost. Unusually the maps in this example are bound in ‘Camden’ order starting in the south west with Cornwall. The railway lines are notably engraved with thicker lines. Provenance: acquired Bloomsbury Book Fair, Royal National Hotel July 2011; private English collection. Carroll (1996) 65; not in Chubb; not in Fordham (1925) p. 24; refer Hodson (1984-97) 286; Smith (1988); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 9199

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