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CROSBY, Benjamin

Crosby's Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales, or Traveller's Companion

Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, Paternoster Row; Simpkin and Marshall, Stationers' Court; and J. Bumpus, Holborn Bars, London, 1818-[22]
Octavo (180 x 110 mm.), contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards, spine with ornate gilt bands, each compartment with ornate blind feature, gilt title, light wear, joints weak. With typographic title page, xv, (1), 540, with 43 engraved maps in early outline colour, comprising a general map of England and Wales, 40 maps of the English counties (Yorkshire folding), north and south Wales, general maps folding, light toning throughout otherwise in good condition.
The early history of this series of copper plates was first noted by the carto-bibliographer Donald Hodson in 1976 whilst examining a deposited example of ‘Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales’ at the British Library. It was recorded by David Kingsley, in his work on maps of Sussex in 1982. However, it was not until 1987 that Tony Burgess and Eugene Burden first published the link with the later work by Samuel Tymms entitled ‘The Family Topographer’.

John Bumpus (fl.1790-d.1832) began trading around 1790. In 1818 he was a joint publisher of ‘Crosby’s Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales’. Benjamin Crosby (1768-1815) first published the gazetteer in 1807 with two general maps. His business success was ably assisted by two of his assistants, W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, who continued it following Crosby’s ‘sudden attack of paralysis’ in 1814. The balance of the business fell to Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, who re-issued the ‘Gazetteer’ in 1815. A further edition of 1818 was co-published with Simpkin and Marshall and John Bumpus. All these editions contained just two general maps.

Two examples of the ‘Gazetteer’ exist with a full set of county maps inserted. They include cancelled title pages from the 1815 and 1818 editions, respectively. The maps largely bear the date of 1 May 1822. A further work lacking title is called the ‘British Atlas’ from publisher’s label affixed to the boards advertising the price at 15 shillings. It is known in at least one other example similarly lacking title. It is my contention that Bumpus saw the potential of issuing the ‘Gazetteer’ with a series of maps. All but four maps in the atlas are dated 1 May 1822. The earliest is North Wales dated 1 January 1820 followed by South Wales and Yorkshire dated 1 November 1820. These are all larger folding maps as is the new general map of England and Wales dated 1 January 1821. At this point it is possible there was a dispute with the partners causing a delay. The presence of one of Yorkshire shows clear intent for a series of the counties.

The balance of the maps are all dated 1 May 1822 indicating that by then he had sole control of the plates. Most of the maps dated 1822 identify James Cox (fl.1815-41) as engraver and/ or J. Walker as draughtsman. That of Durham notes Cox as the delineator. Little is known of him beyond being summoned on 10 July 1828 to the Court of Insolvent Debtors. The style of engraving is not consistent. Those of Cornwall, Cumberland and Leicester are within a piano key border, the remaining being plain double line. The titles are in plain or hatched capital letters and some of the Bumpus imprints below are in italic.

There are several J. Walker’s involved in map production at the time and it is unclear which it might be. One unusual feature of the maps is that while all distances recorded are those from the county capital, the latter is shown from London. Further information, usually found within a lower panel, includes the area, inhabitants and parliamentary representation taken from the 1811 Census. This example appears to be that which was illustrated in ‘The Map Collector’ in 1984. Bumpus went on to publish a couple of plans of London between 1827 and 1830. He is believed to be the brother of Thomas Bumpus, founder of the well-known booksellers of the same name. Provenance: possibly acquired at Bloomsbury Auctions; private English collection. Batten & Bennett (2008) 90.1; Burden (1994) 82; Burgess (2009) 117.i.; Burgess & Burden (1987) ‘Crosby’s Gazetteer’ in ‘The Map Collector’ no. 38 p. 52; Carroll (1996) 81; Kingsley (1982) nos. 85 & 100; Smith, David (1984) ‘Previously Unknown Pocket Gazetteer Found’, in ‘The Map Collector’ no. 29 pp. 34-5; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 10250

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