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

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

Surveyed in 1577 by Christopher Saxton this map remains a classic to this day. It was engraved by Remigius Hogenberg whose imprint is lower left. Hogenberg was a native of Mechelen and brother to the famous Frans Hogenberg who co-published the ‘Civitates Orbis Terrarum’. Christopher Saxton had just received his licence which encouraged him to produce 12 maps this year, the busiest. Those produced later in the year most likely after his licence was approved are only known in the one state with Saxton’s name present. Those issued in the first part of the year including this one are known in ‘proof’ states lacking his name. Christopher Saxton produced one of the earliest national surveys of any kind and the first uniformly conceived cartographic survey of England and Wales. It was begun in about 1574 and completed by 1579: ‘in the long list of British atlases the first name is also the greatest, the name of Christopher Saxton’ (Chubb). Saxton (c.1542–c.1610) was born in the Dunningley, West Riding of Yorkshire. While the details of his early life are sketchy, it is known that he attended Cambridge University, and in 1570 he was apprenticed as a map maker to John Rudd, vicar of Dewsbury. Saxton began work on his county maps in about 1574. In 1577 he received letters patent from Elizabeth I protecting his maps against plagiarism for the next ten years. As well as the Queen’s protection, Saxton also enjoyed the patronage of Thomas Seckford, Master of the Queen’s Requests, whose mottoes are found on the maps.

Evans and Lawrence wrote that he ‘left a legacy of maps of the counties of England and Wales from which succeeding generations of map-makers drew extensively … amazingly accurate in detail, [the atlas] survives as testimony to his expertise when surveying techniques and comprehension of the mathematical sciences were still limited.’ They are arguably the most highly prized by collectors of county maps. William Web (fl.1629-52) was a bookseller from Oxford. In 1645 he published ‘The Maps of all the Shires in England and Wales. Exactly taken and truly described by Christopher Saxton’. The imprint states ‘Printed for William Web at the Globe in Cornehill, London’, despite Web being a bookseller in Oxford. Quite how he came into possession of the Saxton plates is unknown. The fact that the court of Charles I was in Oxford for the duration of the Civil War (1642-46) and the atlas is dedicated to the King can be no coincidence. The war undoubtedly caused a delay as most maps bear the date of 1642 despite the title imprint being 1645. Because it did not have the same impact and no doubt because of the Civil War this edition of Saxton’s atlas is one of the rarest surviving in ONLY THREE RECORDED EXAMPLES.

Provenance: private English collection. Barber ‘Mapmaking in England, ca.1470-1650’ in The History of Cartography volume 3 part 2 pp. 1623-31; Chubb (1927) I; Evans & Lawrence (1979) pp. 9–43, 45-7 & 59 no. 2; Harley, Brian ‘The Map Collector’ no. 8 pp. 2-11; Hind (1952-55) vol. 1 p. 73; Lawrence, Heather ‘Christopher Saxton’ in ‘The Map Collector’ 27 pp. 16-18; Shirley (1980) no. 128; Shirley (2004) T.Sax 1g; Skelton (1970) 27; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
SAXTON, Christopher – WEB, William

Salopiae Comitatus, Summa cum Fide cum et Diligentia Descriptionem haec Tibi Tabula Refert Ao. Dm. 1642

London, 1577-[1645]
390 x 505 mm., a couple of areas of minor loss to the extreme right margin, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 7331


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