In the ‘London Evening Post’ for 21-23 July 1747 was an advert stating that ‘Now Engraving, In a beautiful Manner, and of proper Size to carry in the Pocket, or to bind with the Tour … A Complete Set of Maps of all the Counties in England, Scotland, and Wales … on a larger Scale than any Pocket Map hitherto publish’d’. The ‘Tour’ referred to the well known book by Daniel Defoe of the period, it was partly owned by the same publishers. There appears to have been a minor delay in the first issue as it was not advertised as being complete until the ‘General Evening Post’ of 8-10 November 1748. Despite naming Scotland, the two were made available separately and we may normally find England and Wales together, as in this example which was originally priced at 6s. Numerous adverts were placed in the ensuing months and no doubt this was due to the competition of Thomas Badeslade & William Toms’ ‘Chorographia Britanniae’ and the Thomas Kitchin and Thomas Jeffery’s ‘Small English Atlas’.
Traditionally the atlas has been ascribed to Thomas Osborne. Although the names of seven publishers appear on the title page, no clear attribution is made. Often the size of the share in the work indicated their principal listing in the order of names. The first named is Samuel Birt who died in November 1755. A second edition appeared soon after in which the first named is Thomas Osborne who appeared as the second named in this edition. Therefore, the work has commonly been called Osborne’s. He was also ‘the most celebrated bookseller of his day’ (Dibdin). Osborne had inherited a considerable bookseller and publishing business from his father of the same name in Gray’s Inn. It appears though that this brought with it an unfortunate air. Marston wrote that ‘to his inferiors he generally spoke with an authoritative and insolent manner’. The maps of England and Wales and Gloucestershire in the atlas are signed by Thomas Hutchinson (fl.1733-54) as engraver and although there are similarities in style with the remainder of the maps, Hodson does not believe he was responsible for them all. Chubb (1927) 190; ESTC T151875; Hodson (1984-97) 205; Shirley (2004) T.Hut 1a; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).