Folio (375 x 265 mm.), recent half calf by The Abrams Bindery, marbled paper boards, blind ruled, preserving original red morocco gilt panelled title label affixed to upper cover, spine with raised bands, heavily gilded, central gilt compass to each compartment, gilt title. With typographic title, Contents and 42 maps consisting of 40 of the counties, North and South Wales, the last two and Yorkshire folding, with a couple of splits to folds professionally repaired, with offsetting to most maps, Worcestershire with some edge strengthening and holes upper centre, otherwise in good condition.
A very rare atlas begun by Thomas Dix (1769/70-1813) which was completed with the help of William Darton (1781-1854). Dix was a schoolmaster before becoming a surveyor in Northamptonshire and Norfolk. One of his earliest cartographic items was the ‘Juvenile Atlas’ published by Darton. On Dix’s death he had been working on a folio county atlas. The title of the first edition states ‘commenced by the late Thomas Dix, of North Walsham; carried on and completed by William Darton’. That first edition appeared in 1822 and is extremely rare. Darton was the son of William Darton (1755-1819), the founder of a family of engravers, book and mapsellers, publishers and printers. Our William Darton was apprenticed to his father and made free in 1802. He formed his own business in 1804 in partnership with his brother Thomas Darton (1783-1855) which lasted until 1810.
The first edition of this work was published in 1822 under the title of ‘A Complete Atlas of the English Counties’. The maps bear dates varying from July 1816 to February 1821. Examples of the maps loose, cut and dissected are known and it is probable that they were first sold individually. It is known that examples of the county maps have the date in the imprint altered to 1830, indeed Cambridge is so dated here. In 1830 his son John Maw Darton (1810-81) joined him in the business and the name was changed around that time to Darton & Son, the imprints on these maps were changed accordingly.
This particular example is watermarked 1833 and the undated atlas is normally ascribed to c.1835. The partnership was dissolved when William Darton retired in 1837. Each map bears an attractive uncoloured vignette view of somewhere in the county. One of the main alterations is the addition of Parliamentary information drawn from the Representation of the People Act, otherwise known as the Reform Act, of 1832 which spurred its issue. Provenance: Dominic Winter Auctions 21 September 2011 lot 91; Dominic Winter Auctions 10 October 2012 lot 68; private English collection. Carroll (1996) no. 75; not in Chubb; Kingsley (1982) no. 75; Tooley’s Dictionary (1999-2004); Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).