Sidney Hall (1788?-1831) 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 and published by Chapman and Hall. There is no known familial link between the two Hall’s. We cannot conclude for sure that Sidney Hall engraved all 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. They are bound in the same order as found in Gorton’s ‘Topographical Dictionary’ except for England which is bound with Essex. Those of Yorkshire, Ireland, Scotland and Wales consist of two plates. The dates on the maps vary in examples and here 15 maps are variously dated between 1830 and 1833. They are also uncut indicating the fact that this is likely drawn from earlier stock.
The first edition of the ‘New British Atlas’ was issued in 1833, however examples are recorded like this in which there is no title page. A title is embossed on the upper board as here (BL Maps 9.b.54; Cambridge University Library Atlas 6.83.16; Whitaker Library 162). The maps are bound alphabetically with a 4 sheet Inland Navigation. Ireland, Scotland and Wales are in 2 sheets as is that of Yorkshire. Provenance: with ownership inscription inside upper boards ‘Library Warrens’; Doreen Green; Clive A. Burden Ltd. Catalogue 6 (2010) item 44. Carroll (1996) 94; refer Chubb (1927) 451; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).