The FIRST EDITION of Gibson’s highly desirable little atlas. John Gibson (fl.1750-1787) was an engraver who worked for several of the cartographers of the day. Published and advertised extensively in May of 1759 by John Newbery (1713-67), the ‘New and Accurate Maps …’ was most probably intended for children. Newbery had married the widow of William Carnan in 1740, the owner and publisher of ‘The Reading Mercury and Oxford Gazette’ and at first’ he continued to run the business. It was one of the earliest papers outside of London to which he moved in 1744. Newbery was the first publisher to focus on the market for children’s books, most of which he priced around 6d. or 1s. So this work was one of his most expensive items on offer at 4s. and 5s. 6d. coloured. In 1758, Newberry had published the ‘Atlas Minimus’, with plates engraved by Gibson, a similar sized world atlas. It is Newbery who is depicted in Oliver Goldsmith’s The ‘Vicar of Wakefield’ as the philanthropic bookseller. He also published ‘Goody Two Shoes’, the first in his series of the Juvenile Library. Newbery’s name is honoured in America with the annual award of a medal since 1922 for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature by an American resident.
Below the title is a brief explanation of the symbols used on the maps. They themselves contain some brief topographical and statistical notes. Most of the maps are drawn from Morden, although Hodson identifies more recent sources for some maps. These are usually large scale county surveys which were beginning to appear on the market at the time. There were two editions of this pretty county atlas, both of which are very rare. On Newbery’s death, the business was taken over by his son, Francis Newbery, and his stepson, Thomas Carnan. Provenance: manuscript inscription above title of Hannah Donnellan; manuscript inscription on front free endpaper of ‘Roger ? Mainwaring? 1817’; and ‘Daphne M. Wells August 1943’; and ‘Nicholas James Garlick July 1954’; private English collection. Chubb (1927) no. 213; not in ESTC; Hodson (1984-97) no. 219; Shirley (2004) T.Gib 2a.