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MOULE, Thomas

The English Counties Delineated; Or, A Topographical Description of England

George Virtue, 26, Ivy Lane Paternoster Row, London, 1837
Quarto, 2 volumes (270 x 215 mm. each), full contemporary diced russia calf, rebacked with raised bands, blind ruled compartments and dark green calf labels bearing volume numbers and titles. With engraved frontispiece of King William IV bearing title, further engraved title page with vignette of Greenwich Hospital, typographic title page, pp. xxiv, 484; typographic title, pp. (2), 582, with 1 steel engraved view of Canterbury Cathedral and 58 maps mostly of English counties, all in early wash colour, England trimmed and backed on cloth, Inland navigation consisting of 4 plates, Metropolitan Boroughs backed on linen, Norfolk with small tear repaired, Suffolk with binders tear repaired, Somerset folding, Yorkshire North Riding folding. Some maps trimmed slightly as is always the case, otherwise a very good example.
FIRST EDITION. Thomas Moule (1784-1851) was a noted historian, mapseller and publisher. His finest work is the ‘English Counties Delineated’ first published in 1837 following its issue in parts from May 1830 to the spring of 1836. The publisher was George Virtue who used the same beautiful plates later in his publication of Rev. James Barclay’s ‘Dictionary’. The maps are considered the most attractive of all the later English county maps. They are embellished with topographical views, coats of arms and decorative borders. They were engraved by James Bingley (1796-1869), John Crane Dower (1791?-1847) and William Schmollinger (fl.1830-37). Bingley was born in Leicester and was in London by 1820 when he married in Chelsea. He was imprisoned for debt in 1833 at which time he was in partnership with Schmollinger. Dower was born in London and left a son John James Dower who was also an engraver. Schmollinger was also declared bankrupt in 1856.

Thomas Moule wrote books on heraldry and antiquities. From 1816-23 he was a bookseller in Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, London. He was then employed in the General Post Office to ‘interpret illegible addresses’ (BBTI) whilst also working as Chamber-Keeper in the Lord Chamberlain’s Department. The last position gave him a residence at St. James’s Palace where he died in 1851. After the completion of the parts issue sometime in 1836 the ‘English Counties Delineated’ appeared as a two-volume book in 1837 with subsequent editions in 1838 and 1839. The first edition offered here includes a frontispiece portrait of William IV indicating its most likely publication before his death on 20 June 1837. Later issues include a portrait of the young Queen Victoria. Several pages of descriptive text accompany each county map. A large index ends volume two. A fine example of the work with all the maps in the preferred early wash colour state. Provenance: ‘Ex Libris Thomae Rymer’ bookplate pasted inside covers; private English Collection. British Book Trade Index; Campbell (1985b); Carroll (1996) 95; Chubb (1927) 472; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
Stock number: 9243

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