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JEFFERYS, Thomas

The County of Buckingham, Surveyed in MDCCLXVI, VII, VIII and Engraved by Thomas Jefferys, Geographer to His Majesty, MDCCLXX

Thomas Jefferys, London, 24 March 1770
1320 x 835 mm., in four sheets joined, cut and dissected into 32 sections, laid on linen, in full early wash colour, one join with small split otherwise in good condition, with original marbled paper publishers slipcase complete with Thomas Jefferys label, worn.
Thomas Jefferys (1719-71) was arguably the most important English cartographer during the eighteenth century. A publisher, engraver, author and geographer of some note he was appointed Geographer to Frederick Prince of Wales in 1748, and later to King George III. It was during the Seven Years’ War that Jefferys made a name for himself as an authority on North American cartography. His other great contribution was in English County cartography being involved with a number of county atlases. But it was his large scale maps of the counties that extended his finances too far. His map of Devonshire in 1765 won the first ever prize of £100 offered by the Royal Society of Arts. By 1766 he was forced into bankruptcy. To survive Jefferys entered into partnerships, the most important of which was with the London map and printseller Robert Sayer. He stated that with the help of ‘some Friends who have been compassionate enough to re-instate me in my Shop’ he continued in business.

This is the first new survey of the county of Buckingham since the Elizabethan era. The survey was undertaken for Thomas Jefferys by John Ainslie and Thomas Donald. John Ainslie (1745-1828) was born in Jedburgh and apprenticed to Jeffery’s in London in 1762. Thomas Donald (fl.1750-c.1797) was also in the employ of Jefferys. The two had already undertaken a survey of Bedfordshire for him in 1765. The survey of Buckinghamshire took place between 1766 and 1768. Indeed in the November of the year the survey started Jefferys went bankrupt, an explanation possibly for the ‘three’ year survey.

The published map us longitudinal measurements based on Greenwich observatory, Jefferys was an early adoptee of the idea. The main title lower left is set in a scene along the river bank showing across the River Thames the Chapel of Eton College. To the right two scales display the Statute and Geographic mile. Above the title is a fine large scale plan of the city of Buckingham. The map is dedicated upper left to the ‘Nobility, Gentry, Clergy and Freeholders of the County’. Upper right is the ‘Explanation’ or Key identifying market towns in capitals and parishes in print. Churches, Seats, Farms, Parks, Turnpike roads, ‘Inclosed’ and Open roads amongst others.

The accompanying publishers marbled paper slipcase bears a paper label affixed stating ‘Buckinghamshire. Printed for T. Jefferys Charing Cross London’. There are in fact four known states of the map. Rodger in her study of large scale maps omits the first. The map was either sold immediately to Andrew Dury or possibly issued in partnership. The arrangement being that two versions would be printed, each with their own imprints. It has been determined that the Jefferys imprint was first. Both are dated March 24th 1770. As might be expected in a cut and dissected example the imprint outside the border has been trimmed with only remnants visible. However the presence of a Jefferys slipcase might indicate that this is an example of the rare first state. Although unchecked for the imprint we could only trace examples at the Senate House Library, London, and in the Allen Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The last known example on the market was in the great large scale catalogue of Brian Kentish in 1997. Eden (1979); Harley (1966) ‘The Bankruptcy of Thomas Jefferys’ in ‘Imago Mundi’ XX pp. 27-48; Hodson III (1997) p. 42; Kentish (1997) ‘Large Scale County Maps of England and Wales 1705-1832’ no. 6; not in Rodgers, refer no. 28; Worms & Baynton-Williams; refer Wyatt (1978) no. 39.
Stock number: 8591

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