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The Mapping of North America

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CASSELL, John

Cassell's Complete Atlas Containing Two Hundred and Sixty Folio Maps, (Beautifully Engraved and Coloured,) Presenting a Full and Most Accurate Survey of the World's Surface

Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, La Belle Sauvage Yard, Ludgate Hill, E.C., London, c.1866
Folio (490 x 360 mm.), contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards, rebacked with burgundy calf gilt title label, later endpapers. With titlepage, Preface, Index and 86 (of 87) maps as per the index, lacking Derbyshire, mostly in early outline colour, all unusually on good thick paper, some light restoration to the first two leaves, otherwise in good condition.
‘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. 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. The Directions for Binding state that the work could be had in one, two or three volumes. This was so that it could be divided geographically if desired. This example has ‘Vol 1’ in manuscript on the title page and contains only those relating to England. It does in fact follow the Index sheet exactly to plate number 87. Each of the three columns listed has a different volume number atop in manuscript. Its contents include the county maps, the full complement of railway, the Agas plan of London and the magnificent nine sheet plan of London amongst others. The latter was drawn on a large scale of nine inches to the mile.

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’. Provenance: private English collection. Beresiner (1983) pp. 85-7; Carroll (1996) no. 120; Hyde (1975) 73.(6).
Stock number: 9807

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