Folio (495 x 340 mm.), contemporary half dark blue calf, burgundy cloth boards, gilt ruling, rebacked with blind ruled compartments preserving the original calf gilt title label and endpapers. Bookbinders inside back cover ‘Bound by Geo. Coward 34 Scotch Street Carlisle. With title, Index and 102 numbered sheet maps as per the index, all in early outline colour except the Agas in wash colour, omitting the supplementary map of London identified in the index, some light foxing, one or two light tears repaired, otherwise a good example.
An atlas with an interesting history. ‘The Weekly Dispatch’ was published between the years 1856 and 1862 and included in each edition was a map of a part of the world. During this period a total of 118 maps were issued, those of England were derived from the Ordnance Survey. The engravers varied but included John Dower and Edward Weller. In 1863 ‘The Dispatch Atlas’ was published which contained the complete series of maps published to date including the set of English county maps.
In 1864 the stones passed to the publishers Cassell, Petter and Galpin who re-issued them as ‘Cassell’s Complete Atlas’ in c.1865 with 260 maps. John Cassell came from abject poverty in the north of England and soon became a supporter of the teetotal movement. The publishing firm founded in 1848 is still a going concern as Cassell & Co. An advertisement of the verso of the Index to this copy records the number of ways in which the maps were grouped to offer differing publications, eleven in all. Another variant title was ‘Cassell’s County Atlas’ with just 50 maps, believed to have been published just prior to this enlarged ‘Cassell’s British Atlas’.
The atlas contains many double sheet maps of larger counties or regions. Most notable however are the town plans of several cities and several strip maps of the main railways. The work concludes with the panoramic reproduction of Agas’s map of London as it was in the Elizabethan era. Provenance: private English collection. Beresiner (1983) pp. 85-7; Carroll (1996)no. 120.