Folio (36 x 220 mm.), contemporary half burgundy calf, cloth boards, gilt ruled with gilt title decorated with ornate gilt Royal Coats of Arms to upper cover, spine with ornate gilt bands, blind ruled compartments, gilt title. With publishers adverts bound inside both the covers, front loose endpaper replaced. With title (soiled) and Preface with Contents on the verso, 47 chromolithographic maps of England and Wales and a ‘copious index of 18,000 names’ pp. 35, complete with Omissions slip, a few maps showing minor damage at the edges, otherwise in good condition.
The firm of Letts, Son and Co. are best remembered in English minds by their diaries first published in 1835 by John Letts (1772-1851), the founder of the firm in 1809. It was his son Thomas (1804-73) who upon taking over the business, rapidly expanded the diaries and general publishing. This particular series of maps began life as John and Charles Walker’s ‘British Atlas’ in 1837. From about 1849 they were also published concurrently as lithographs in ‘Hobson’s Fox-Hunting Atlas’ by William Colling Hobson. Charles Walker died in 1872 and John the following year. Further lithographic transfers were published here in 1884 by the Letts firm. Thomas Letts had died in 1873 and by 1885 the firm was in liquidation. The rights to the diary were taken over by Cassell, Petter and Galpin who continued to publish using the Letts name. The atlas was acquired by Mason & Payne who published one further edition in 1887, again retaining the Letts name.
Letts’s ‘Popular County Atlas’ consists of a general map, 42 maps of the English counties including the 3 Yorkshire Ridings, and maps of the four quarters of Wales. Each map is detailed and coloured. The Preface announces the detail enclosed including ‘the recent earthquake in Essex’. The map itself with a ‘Red Cross, thus X denotes recorded locations of Earthquake Shock, April 22nd, 1884. Size of the Cross represents comparative intensity.’ Beresiner (1983) pp. 143-4. Carroll (1996) no. 105.M; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004).