Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
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A good example of the first reprint of Greenough’s large-scale geological map of 1820. Although ‘reduced by permission’ it curiously does not cite Greenough. One of the most significant geological maps of England and Wales ever published was produced by George Greenough (1778-1855). At the time of its publication in 1820 he was accused of plagiarism, just five years after the landmark work of William Smith published in 1815. Greenough was one of the founding members of the Geological Society of London and was its first president to 1811. ‘In 1808 he first sketched the boundary-lines of the various strata in England and Wales, and in 1810 he travelled over a great part of the country for the purpose of mapping it. At the request of the Geological Society, he then, with the help of Conybeare, Buckland, and Henry Warburton, coloured a large scale-map drawn by Webster, and in 1820 published it in six sheets’ (DNB).

It began a bitter feud, Greenough published a ‘Memoir of a Geological Map of England’ in which he defended his work. He claimed ‘Mr Smith’s map was not seen by me till after its publication, and the use I have since made of it has been very limited. The two maps agree in many respects, not because the one has been copied from the other, but because both are correct …’ (Memoir). ‘Much has been written on to what extent Smith’s Map influenced Greenough and exactly when the latter actually saw a version of the work, but certainly both the Society and Greenough were amongst the list of subscribers to the publication, and each received a copy of the first imprint. Tellingly, the sheets of Greenough’s copy are marked with notes recording that he did indeed consult it, with comments such as ‘This sheet can be of no further use to the Geol Map, Nov 1818’ (Geological Society website).

Greenough’s map is now recognised as a separate work of scholarship which drew on other surveyors which he then collated. ‘There are a number of key visual differences between the two men’s maps, most notably the scale – Smith’s at 5 miles to the inch and Greenough’s at 6 miles to the inch. Another distinction is that whilst Smith’s base map has virtually all the topography removed, hills and mountains are included in Greenough’s version. Smith’s Map used his distinctive fading watercolour technique, whilst Greenough’s employed flat colour washes and patterning to depict his stratigraphy’ (The Geological Society).

Greenough’s six-sheet map was not issued again until 1839, making this the first re-issue of the map since originally published. It was first published with the date 1 June 1826; however, no copies are listed on Library Hub and only one auction record could be identified. This second issue bears a date of 21 July 1826, just seven weeks later. Alterations have been noted to the outline of the geological strata. Issues with this date are noted with printed slips added of either C. Smith or G. F. Cruchley over the imprint. None appears to be recorded with a Wyld imprint as here.

The map was published by James Gardner (fl.1822-50) about whose early career little is known. Worms & Baynton-Williams speculate that he worked as a surveyor under Thomas Colby on the Ordnance Survey from about 1809-20. Certainly, he became the sole agent for the Ordnance Survey in 1823 on the retirement of William Faden. He was a founding member of the Royal Geographic Society in 1830. James Wyld (1790-1836) was an apprentice to William Faden and became Geographer to His Majesty George IV and later William IV. He too was a founder member of the Royal Geographic Society in 1830. He introduced lithography into mapmaking in 1812. His death in 1836 was said to be due to ‘overwork’.

Set within a piano-key styled border, the boundaries of the strata are marked by faint dotted lines, each hand coloured and lettered to a key upper right with similar colour coding. The underlying map displays the road and canal network. The whole is engraved to a scale of 17.5 statute miles to 1 inch by William Gardner (fl.1816-29) who appears to be of no relation. He was declared bankrupt in September 1829 after reportedly extensive forgeries were detected (‘The Times’). He fled the country the same year with his eight-year-old son seeking passage to New York. He left behind his wife and three other children who claimed to be unaware. Herries Davies (2007); Rumsey 10516.002; Tooley’s Dictionary; Ward & Carozzi 882 (issue points not stated); Winchester (2002); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

GREENOUGH, George Bellas

Geological Map of England and Wales reduced by permission from the map in 6 sheets published by the Geological Society

James Gardner, with pasted on label of J. Wyld, Geographer to the King Charing Cross East (nearly opposite Northumberland House), London, July 21st 1826
685 x 535 mm., dissected laid on contemporary linen, in full early wash colour, endpapers, silk edged, with Wyld’s printed label over the imprint below, in good condition.
Stock number: 10848
£ 1,950
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