Donald Hodson, in his work on Hertfordshire county maps, first reported the existence of a ‘General and County Atlas’ with the series of county maps by John Harrison acquired by the firm of Francis Edwards in September 1967. In this work the last two digits of the imprint date 1788 had been erased. The paper in the atlas was all watermarked with the date 1815, hence his approbation. When David Kingsley published his study on Sussex maps in 1982, he reported that the atlas had been broken up. Fortunately, a further example in beautiful early wash colour appeared at auction in 1997 and we secured it.
In this example, the date is erased from all of the imprints to varying degrees of neatness. The atlas is expanded with nine further maps of the world, continents and three general maps of England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The title page bears a list of contents although it is incomplete, omitting to list those of Cambridge and Northamptonshire. A further example with this title page was sold at a Phillips auction 15 June 1995 lot 14. However, in that example since broken up, the maps were all in the earlier state with their dates present. No institutional example could be traced, that was the only surviving known example. Then recently we acquired the complete collection of the maps, the only item missing apart from the binding was a title page. All of the contents matched the 1997 example. We have made an excellent facsimile of the title and had the whole rebound to be able to offer only the second known example of this work in beautiful early wash colour.
No name appears on the title page although none are removed from the imprints on the maps. Harrison died it is believed in 1812. The will for a John Harrison of Newgate Street survives in the National Archives and is dated 21 May 1812. Harrison’s ‘Ancient Geography’ was re-published by John Hearne if the Strand c.1824. He was active from 1822 to 1860. Not in ESTC; Hodson (1974) 50.iii; Kingsley (1982) no. 54.ii; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004).