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

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden‚Äč
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Very little is known about either George Cole or John Roper (1771-1810). The latter appears to have engraved the plates to the atlas from the drawings of Cole. Two however were not engraved by him, Cheshire and Caernarvonshire. The publishers were the established firm of Vernor, Hood and Sharpe who began publishing the ‘British Atlas’ in parts from 1 October 1804. An example in parts survives at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Thomas Vernor was the senior partner having been a bookseller since 1766. Thomas Hood joined him in partnership in 1794, followed by Sharpe in 1806.

The maps were originally produced to accompany J. Britton and E. W. Brayley’s ‘Beauties of England and Wales’ issued 1801-16 in twenty-five volumes, a statement to which effect is found on most of them. The maps and text were however never issued together. The maps were announced in part 32, issued in May 1804. The first part of ‘The British Atlas’ appeared 1 October 1804, each would contain two maps and one town plan, or three county maps. The final part was published 1 October 1808. Britton’s autobiography states that the maps were reduced from ‘original surveys … published by Mr. Faden whose permission was exclusively granted …’ The maps are very attractive. The complete work was published under the same title in 1810 by a conglomerate of ten different publishers.

The contents leaf stated that the atlas contained 57 maps and 22 plans. It did not list that of the Isle of Wight which is always present and the list of town plans includes one of Shrewsbury which was never issued. Therefore, the true count is always 58 maps and 21 town plans. Most examples of the atlas contain a contents leaf with these errors. Chubb had recorded a variant in the British Library which matches this example in which it has been corrected with the Isle of Wight now named and Shrewsbury removed from the list. At the same time to numeric counts above each section have been corrected and now read ’58 Maps’ instead of ’57’ and ’21 Plans’ instead of ’22’.

This example bears the addition of two further inserted plans of Bristol and Bath, both folding. That of Bristol is ‘Donne’s New and Correct Plan of Bristol, Clifton and the Hot Wells’, here dated 1815. It was first published in 1800 and is engraved by John Cary. It is not in Fordham’s list of his works. Benjamin Donne (1729-98) was a surveyor and mathematician and the first winner of the Royal Society’s prize for his one inch to a mile survey of Devon, published in 1765. The even larger folding plan of Bath is by George Manners (1789-1866) dated 1817. An architect and surveyor of Bath, it was published by Barratt & Son in that city. Neither are listed in Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers. Provenance: Donald Hodson collection, (1933-2016), carto-bibliographer. Beresiner (1983) pp. 88-90; Britton (1849) part 2 ‘A Descriptive Account of the Literary Works’ pp. 63-4; Carroll (1996) 62; Catalogue of British Town Plans; Chubb (1927) 339; Eden (1975); not in Fordham (1925); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

COLE, George and ROPER, John

The British Atlas; comprising A Complete Set of County Maps, of England and Wales

Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe; Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme; J. Harris; J. Cuthell; J. Cundee; W. Faden; J. and A. Arch; Crosby and Co.; J. Richardson; and J. M. Richardson, London, 1810-[17]
THE RARE SECOND ISSUE. Quarto (325 x 240 mm.), contemporary half calf, marbled paper boards, spine with gilt ruled compartments, each with central gilt feature, with gilt title, top of the spine missing, light wear, uncut. With typographic title (reinstated), contents, 2 general maps of England and Wales, 56 further maps of the counties all in early outline colour and 21 town plans, with 2 additional folding plans of Bristol and Bath inserted, the maps are fresh, the plans with some light foxing, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 9532
£ 2,500
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