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The Mapping of North America

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The British Monarchy: Or, a New Chorographical Description of all the Dominions Subject to the King of Great Britain …

London, 1749
Folio (315 x 205 mm.), original full calf, with ornate blind panels, worn and stained, rebacked with ribbed spine, ornate blind ruled compartments each with ornate central ornament, with blue calf gilt title. With frontispiece, title page, address to the reader, 2 pp. of Subscribers, Contents, 3 pp. Introduction, in all 5 unnumbered plates (one plate 2) and numbers 1-161 (‘2’ unnumbered) and folding plate ‘To follow Plate 161’, several leaves with engraved vignettes, engraved throughout. Short tear to plate 59, otherwise internally in good condition.
George Bickham senior (1684?-1758) and George Bickham junior (1704?-71) were both drawing masters, engravers, printsellers and publishers. They are most commonly known for their popular work on calligraphy entitled the ‘Universal Penman’ 1733-41. ‘The British Monarchy’ had a similar publishing history in that it too was published in parts. It was to be similarly an entirely engraved work and was first announced on 8 October 1743. At first there was no intention to include a series of county maps. It was scheduled to be completed in thirty parts by March 1746. Hodson’s detailed analysis of the construction of this work states that the work was concluded with a section on the American colonies which extending from plate number 164 to 190. These are not present here and being in rebacked it is harder to determine if they were originally present. It does look as though they were not indicating that in many ways this is the earliest example located. In comparing with Hodson’s list of examples it most closely follows that of Atlas B with the second state of the title dated October 1st 1748, the two plates of the ‘Names of Subscribers’ and ‘The Contents’.

But as is often the case delays and expanded plans meant that the work was not a smooth production. The ‘General Advertiser’ of 9 January 1747/48 announced part 34 was issued and that the remainder are to be ‘described in eight more Numbers farthest. These will complete the Work, and shall be published with all possible Expedition’. These clearly refer to the section on the American colonies. ‘The purpose of this publication was to promote the study of geography by providing maps and a text which described the history, goods, commerce, and agriculture of the different counties of Britain and her colonies’ (ODNB). A rare work in any form. Carroll (1996) no. 30; Hodson (1984-97) 217; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 9210


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