These plates were originally published in George Cole and John Roper’s British Atlas, issued in parts between 1804 and 1808. Their last intaglio printing was included in Thomas Dugdale’s Curiosities of Great Britain published by Tallis and Co. 1835-. Following the death of John Tallis senior in 1842, the business was continued briefly by his widow Lucinda Tallis. It is believed that somewhere around 1843 their sons, John (1817-76) and Frederick took over the business and became known as Tallis & Co. until about 1849. The imprint of J. & F. Tallis is also known. From 1851 certainly, John set up on his own. At some point during this period the Curiosities in Great Britain was published by the Tallis firm with a new series of plates by John Archer.
The earliest lithographic transfer of the Cole-Roper plates according to Donald Hodson, resides in Cambridge University Library, which he dates to about 1854. Unfortunately, it lacks a title page. He ascribes it to Henry George Collins based on his imprint appearing on the maps. This later issue is dated to c.1858 based on the dates of the accession of the British Library example. Henry George Collins (fl.1850-58) was a publisher of maps, atlases and globes in Paternoster Row, London. The business was dissolved in 1859.
The publishers were Darton & Co., John Maw Darton was the third generation in a family of engravers, booksellers and publishers. He worked in partnership with Samuel Clark, as Darton & Clark who flourished c.1841-45. Darton continued the business following the death of his father in 1854. There are two issues of this title. This is another issued in partnership with the publishers Collins Brothers.
There was considerable competition for a work containing quarto sized maps, particularly from Sidney Hall and George Cruchley. As such and likely due to the poor quality of the lithographic process, this is a rare item. All the maps now bear black lines to depict the railways and the title panel now lacks the shading which was present on the engraved plates. All previous imprints are also removed. The title refers to their being 43 maps, they are unnumbered to 45 with 2 being general maps. This work omits all the Welsh maps and that of the Isle of Wight and is renumbered accordingly. A similarly entitled work on Wales was published at the same time using the Welsh plates from the same series. The title on the cover refers to the price being Two shillings and sixpence. Beresiner (1983); Burden (1994) 62B; Burgess (Kent) 91B; refer Chubb (1927) 539; Tooley’s Dictionary; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).