Oblong octavo (150 x 185 mm.), full modern limp calf with flap and leather tie. Engraved oval title, Index, pp. 4, folding table of Cross-Roads, general map with lower folded section missing (facsimile of it inserted), with 95 plates of 6 road strips each printed back-to-back, otherwise in good condition.
This is one of several road books of the period with complicated bibliographical histories which with contributions from various researchers was finally understood during the 1980s and 1990s. It is now known that the first publication of this series of road strips was by Thomas Kitchin in 1771 and entitled ‘Ogilby’s Survey Improved or Kitchin’s New and Instructive Travellers’ Companion’. The plates are smaller than those in his re-issue of John Senex’s plates issued in 1767 as the ‘Post-Chaise Companion’. They are drawn on a smaller scale and lack compass points. Any titles and notes are placed top and bottom. The intention was to produce an even more comfortable pocket-sized work. The title records its price at 6s.
This is an extremely rare work. The ESTC records only the one copy at the National Library of Ireland, however further examples are known at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and Nottingham University Library. In this example the front free endpaper contains pencil notes in an old hand of a journey undertaken between 11 October and the 14th, between London and Bath. It lists all the expenses undertaken on the journey. It details those for postilions, turnpikes, chaises and horses. The journey totalled £14.
Kitchin effectively retired to St. Albans about 1777 and the work was acquired by Carington Bowles. It would seem Bowles was keen to issue the work on acquisition, as updates appeared quite rapidly. Two early versions are known, the initial format contained the original 95 plates but was re-titled ‘Bowles’s Post Chaise Companion’. Although undated on the title it is given a date of c.1781. There is only one recorded example. Another ‘Second Edition’ was issued dated 1782 and this is the most common of the editions with new plates taking the total to 100. It was for sale most likely for several years.
Provenance: Dominic Winter 10 April 2013 lot 72; private English collection. Bennett (2007) p. 67; Carroll (1996) App. 12.i; ESTC T220965; not in Fordham (1924); Lintot, Roger (1990) ‘Road Map Confusion’, in ‘The Map Collector’ no. 51 pp. 53-4; Smith, David (1991) ‘Road Map Confusion Revisited’, in ‘IMCoS Journal’ no. 45 pp. 6-11 & Part II issue no. 47 pp. 29-39; Webb (1996) ‘IMCoS Journal’ 64 p. 9.