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The Mapping of North America

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Charles Smith (fl.1799-1852) is perhaps best known for the ‘New English Atlas’ first published in 1804. Smith issued three folio editions in short succession in 1818, 1820 and 1821. He judged the time was right to publish a quarto edition of the atlas in direct competition to ‘Cary’s New and Correct English Atlas’ which was first published in 1787. That work had been remarkably successful, so much so that the first set of plates had to be replaced in 1809. In 1822, a quarto sized version of the atlas was published. The scarcity of the work indicates that it was not a great success. Only two examples are recorded in institutions; Cambridge University Library and Leeds University Library.

Smith’s ‘New English Atlas’ of 1804 bears the distinction of being the first to show longitudes from the meridian of Greenwich Observatory. The title page of this work proudly asserts that they are ‘carefully Arranged according to the Stations & Intersections of the Trigonometrical Survey of England’. An interesting map here is that of Sussex which extends northwards through Kent and Surrey to London enabling it to display all the key routes. In the Explanation is a statement that ‘For the purpose of facilitating the connexion of the respective Maps the surrounding Counties are filled in’. This feature is not available on the folio version.

There were two engravers involved, Gilbert Jesser Pickett (1787-1867) produced the title page and seventeen of the maps. He had previously contributed some maps for ‘Smith’s New General Atlas’ of 1814. The remainder are the work of William Robert Gardner (fl.1816-29). Worms and Bayton-Williams record a couple of interesting anecdotes; ‘Bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against him in September 1829, but then ‘The Times’ of 21 September 1829 reported that ‘extensive forgeries had lately been detected’. Gardner, aged about forty and of ‘ a very prepossessing exterior and agreeable manners’, had maintained an opulent lifestyle, but was now thought to have fled the country with perhaps £10,000 obtained with forged bills. He had left home on 29 July 1829 with his eight-year old son, and was later seen at London Docks seeking passage to New York. His wife and three other children were left behind, claiming to know nothing’ (Worms & Baynton-Williams). Chubb does not record any later edition than the first, illustrating how rare this work is in any edition. This is in fact the second edition known, of which today only three institutional examples are known. Further issues appeared in 1828, 1833 and 1844. Provenance: with ownership inscription of F. A. Warde on title page; private English collection. Beresiner (1983) pp. 208-9; Carroll (1996) 82; refer Chubb (1927) 388; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
SMITH, Charles

Smith's New English Atlas, Being a Reduction of his Large Folio Atlas Containing a Complete Set of County Maps, on which are delineated All the Direct & principal Cross Roads, Cities, Towns, & most considerable Villages, Parks, Rivers and Navigable Canals: Preceded by A General map of England & Wales. The whole carefully Arranged according to the Stations & Intersections of the Trigonometrical Survey of England

C. Smith, Mapseller extraordinary to His Majesty No. 172 Strand, London, 1825
A VERY RARE EDITION. Quarto (275 x 225 mm.), contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards, rebacked with gilt ruled bands, red calf gilt title label, light wear. With engraved title page, contents leaf, 43 engraved maps including a large folding one of Yorkshire, all in fine early outline colour, a 4 page list of Principal Towns followed by 2 blank leaves for ‘Remarks’, small split to binders fold on the folding map of Yorkshire, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 10266
£ 1,100
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