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

The Mapping of North America

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The majority of the plates for this atlas were first issued in the ‘Universal Magazine’ from 1791 to 1798 and are engraved by Benjamin Baker (1766-1841) who was particularly active through 1824 as an engraver for the Ordnance Survey. These early Surveys are highly prized for their detail. The publisher of the ‘Universal Magazine’ was William Bent. In 1804, the plates appeared in a rare atlas entitled ‘Maps of the Several Counties and Shires in England’ by William Darton (1755-1819) and Joseph Harvey (1764-1841). Then they were acquired by the firm of Laurie and Whittle.

Often thought of as mere publishers, Robert Laurie (1755-1836) was a noted craftsman. He was a talented mezzotint engraver who invented a method of mezzotint printing in colour, an achievement that won him an award from the Royal Society of Arts in 1776. In the early 1790s he entered the publishing business with James Whittle (1757-1818) as his partner. The acquisition of Sayer’s stock catapulted them into the major league.

In 1806, they published a road book entitled ‘Laurie and Whittle’s New Traveller’s Companion’ which included road maps. It was originally thought that in the following year this work was published having just acquired the Baker plates of the English counties. The two were clearly meant to complement each other in their stock. Then in 2003 an example dated 1806 on the title page appeared at auction. It remains the only example traced. Three further maps were supplied including the general map dated 1801 by Laurie and Whittle, an apparently new plate of the Isle of Wight engraved by Baker dated 1806 and a general map of Yorkshire to complement those of the Ridings also dated 1806.

The descriptions include a wealth of information including the population data gathered by the Government in 1801. An interesting note on the Explanation states ‘The connection of the Turnpike Roads from one County to another, are shown by Reference Letters’. This feature was of course first introduced by John Cary in 1793. Provenance: Donald Hodson collection (1933-2016), carto-bibliographer. Beresiner (1983) p. 50; Carroll (1996) 53; Chubb (1927) 294; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

LAURIE, Robert & WHITTLE, James

Laurie and Whittle's New and Improved English Atlas, divided into Counties

Robert Laurie and James Whittle, No. 53, Fleet-Street, London, 1807
Oblong quarto (230 x 295 mm.), contemporary half black calf, marbled paper boards, spine with gilt ruled compartments, each with central gilt floral design, gilt title, light wear. With finely engraved title page (slight loss to lower gutter ), typographic title, Advertisement, Contents, engraved Explanation in early colour and 48 engraved maps (West Riding in 2 sheets) all in fine early outline colour with wash borders, each accompanied by a leaf of descriptive text, Lincolnshire with repaired tear, text to Northants and Shropshire with repaired tears, otherwise in good fresh example.
Stock number: 9527
£ 950
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