Quarto (225 x 155 mm.), recent green half calf, marbled paper boards, gilt ruled, spine with gilt ruled compartments, ornate blind decoration to each, gilt title and date. With typographic title page and 51 full page copper engraved maps (the 3 general maps, the Isle of Wight, Kent and the final map of the Islands all folding), all in early outline colour.
ONE OF ONLY FIVE KNOWN EXAMPLES. This exceedingly rare edition has not been seen on the market since 1979! It is most recognised by the removal of the two side panels of antiquities. In late 1752 or early 1753, Carington Bowles (1724-93) joined his father John Bowles (1701-79) in partnership. It spurred a period of publishing activity, one of which was a further edition of the Herman Moll county maps. It is also possible that word of John Rocque and Robert Sayer’s ‘Small British Atlas’, eventually published in June 1753, was an instigator. The title was altered as above and first offered as an atlas in the ‘Public Advertiser’ in July 1753. The ledger of the printer William Strahan survives in the British Library and records that in January 1000 ‘Titles to Moll’s British atlas’ were printed, the cost to John Bowles was £1. 1s.
Internally the main difference was that the copper plates for the county maps have been cut down to facilitate the removal of the side panels of antiquities. The maps themselves have been updated with the addition of a few more roads and alteration of the mileage figures throughout to reflect the measured mile of Ogilby, rather than the computed mile. Hodson records a few additional place names to some maps and other minor revisions. All of this work as stated in the title page was carried out by Emanuel Bowen (1693?-1767). The atlas was priced at 7s. 6d. The last recorded reference to the work is in a catalogue by John Bowles in 1768.
Of the 1000 copies of the title printed, it is doubted all were used, the competition no doubt proved too much. This is judged from the number of surviving examples; Burden Collection (2); Admiralty Library Vd.71; National Library of Wales W.381 (incomplete, ex Clive A. Burden Ltd.); this example. Provenance: Sotheby’s 11 December 1978 lot 141 for £380 to Doreen Green (2016); private English collection. The example recorded by Hodson in the Worthing Public Library was sold some time ago. Chubb (1927) 163; not in ESTC; Hodson (1984-97) 178.