Quarto (320 x 245 mm.), contemporary half red calf, green cloth boards, blind ruled with gilt title to the upper board, ribbed spine with blind ruled compartments, gilt date and title. With engraved title page, List of Maps and 47 steel engraved maps on 54 sheets all in lovely early wash colour, each accompanied by a leaf of descriptive text with the exception of more for the last few maps. Light foxing, otherwise in good condition.
Sidney Hall (1788?-1831) began his career as an engraver for the Arrowsmith family. Hall was a prolific engraver of the period and according to Worms and Baynton-Williams ‘was almost certainly the first engraver to use the new harder steel plates for map work, using plates manufactured by the Jacob Perkins process as early as 1821’. His first county maps were those published by Samuel Leigh in 1820 in ‘Leigh’s New Picture of England and Wales’, a miniature county atlas which proved a success.
This series of maps was engraved for John Gorton’s ‘Topographical Dictionary’ issued in parts from 1831-32. The publishers Chapman and Hall, there is no known familial link between the two Hall’s. We cannot conclude for sure that Sidney Hall engraved all of the plates as his will was proved 26 March 1831. The dates on the maps vary between 1830 and 1832. His widow Selina Hall was also an engraver and as she signed hers ‘S. Hall’ it is difficult to tell.
The first edition of the maps in an atlas was the ‘British Atlas’ first published by Chapman and Hall in 1833. For this the date in the imprints was updated to 1833 and one or two minor alterations made to the plates. The maps are bound alphabetically with those of Yorkshire, Ireland, Scotland and Wales consisting of two plates. A final general map of ‘Inland Navigation’ backed on cloth is bound at the end with a four-sheet list of canals and railways. As early as 1833 the list records 36 railways, each recording the date of opening. Provenance: with the engraved name ‘Isaac Hartley’ pasted inside front cover. Carroll (1996) 94; Chubb (1927) 451; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).