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

The Mapping of North America

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This map of the county of Leicestershire is the first of the county at the scale of one inch to the mile. It is one of the rarer of the eighteenth century surveys and is notable for the fact that unlike his major competitors John Rocque and Thomas Jefferys with lots of experience in this field John Prior was a teacher, clergyman and mathematician. Despite this apparent lack of capability he was awarded the Silver Medal by the Society of Arts and 20 guineas. The survey itself was undertaken by Joseph Whyman from 1775-77 and lower right on the map we find rather unusually a complete triangulation of the county showing how the work progressed. It was published by Prior in 1779.

On the map the parallel and meridian of Leicester are shown with the boundaries of the hundreds coloured. Turnpike roads have their Tollbars and Milestones identified. An indication of the importance of industry to this county is shown by the identification of Coal Pits, Lime Works, Wind Mills, Water Mills and Canals. The latter are the notable addition to this second edition with the presence of the Union, Grantham, Leicester, Oakham and Ashby de la Zouch canals. A note to these and to Coppices and Woods is added to the Explanation and Luffman’s imprint is removed from the title. The inset lower left is a detailed plan of the city of Leicester which was criticised for inaccuracies. Indeed it was excused for a lack of time to survey it properly. The whole map is engraved by John Luffman who completes it with a beautiful cartouche including both title and dedication to the Earl of Huntingdon. The apparent bucolic depiction in fact appears to bear a quantity of coal in front. A further edition was published in 1819 and all editions are rare. Baum pp. 37-9; Deadman & Brooks p. 100; Harley, Brian ‘The Re-Mapping of England, 1750-1800’ in Imago Mundi 19 pp. 56 & 63; Rodger (1972) no. 262.

PRIOR, Reverend John

Map of Leicestershire from an Actual Survey, Begun in the Year 1775, and Finished in the Year 1777

William Faden, London, 1779-[1804]
In 4 loose sheets each cut, dissected and laid on linen, each with publisher’s label of William Faden in early outline colour 565 x 600 mm. The whole forms a map c.1170 x 1270 mm. Folding into a marbled slipcase with gilt titled red calf label to the spine, light wear.
Stock number: 5857

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