John Luffman (1751-1821) had a varied career being a publisher, engraver, goldsmith, author and geographer. He also became bankrupt in 1793 but appears to have recovered. His earliest recorded work is the engraving of the road strips for Taylor and Skinner’s ‘Survey and Maps of the Roads of North Britain’ in 1776. In 1779, he was the engraver of Prior’s large scale map of Leicestershire and in 1781 he was the engraver of Armstrong’s large scale map of Rutland. Later in his career he became a publisher in his own right specialising in smaller maps and atlases such as the ‘Select Plans of the Ports and Harbours of the World’ (1800-1803).
These curious circular engravings of the counties of England and Wales are his most noted work and accompanied a geographical text. A rare atlas that has always been desired by collectors. It was first published in 1803 by Luffman as a ‘New Pocket Atlas and Geography of England and Wales’. A further issue was published in the same year, the maps in which are all in their second state, but by 1806 ownership had passed to the firm of Lackington, Allen & Co. This firm was founded in 1774 by James Lackington from Somerset as a shoemaker. From there he moved temporarily to Bristol where he first began buying books at market stalls. It is stated he was to ashamed to enter bookshops! A legacy of £10 enabled him to rent a shop in London from where he started selling both shoes and books. Soon he focused on the books and by 1803 their catalogue contained 800,000 books! Lackington retired in 1798 and died 1815. The firm finally closed when George Lackington retired in 1826. This is an example of the first state in which the plate number is near the plate edge. Refer Batten & Bennett (1996) 66; refer Carroll (1996) 59; Chubb (1927) 308; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).