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

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
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Robert Dodsley was a successful writer, poet and publisher, born in Mansfield as the son of a schoolmaster. He published mainly literary material in his day including that of his friend Dr. Johnson from 1738. Indeed, it is believed Dodsley was one of those encouraging Johnson in the undertaking of the ‘Dictionary’. The maps for the ‘Geography of England’ began life as so many others of the period in a periodical. ‘The Publick Register: or, the Weekly Magazine’ by Robert Dodsley struggled to survive under the laws of the day. Stamp duty was required on all newspapers but it was interpreted variously between 1733 and 1743. Dodsley believed that by reporting it weekly it was not news but eventually lost the battle to the more efficient competition of Edward Cave’s ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’. Before it closed it had introduced a series of six topographical descriptions accompanied by maps. They ran alphabetically and included those between Bedfordshire and Cornwall. There is some evidence to suggest Cave went out of his way to destroy the magazine.

At the demise of the magazine, it is safe to assume enough topographical material had been gathered to encourage Dodsley to continue and publish it collectively. The unidentified editor of the descriptive text has drawn on several works including those of William Camden’s ‘Britannia’ and Hermann Moll’s ‘A New Description of England and Wales’, 1724. The original six county descriptions are expanded. The publication was announced to the public as the ‘Geography of England’ in November 1743. This is despite the title page recording a date of 1744, not an uncommon practice. Jointly published the maps are attractive to the eye and largely derived from the quarto work of Robert Morden first published in 1701. They are the work of John Cowley (fl.1733-44) who was a political writer and geographer and became Geographer to the King in 1741. Provenance: with signature of ‘P: Peirson’ on title; private English collection. Carroll (1996) 26; Chubb (1927) 181; Hodson (1984-97) 194; Shirley (2004) T.Cowl 1a; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).
COWLEY, John – DODSLEY, Robert

The Geography of England: Done in the Manner of Gordon's Geographical Grammer, Each County being consider'd under the following Heads: ...

Robert Dodsley, at Tully's Head in Pall Mall, London, 1744-[43]
Octavo (195 x 120 mm.), recent quarter green calf, green cloth boards with gilt rule, spine with double gilt ruled raised bands, gilt title, later endpapers. With typographic title page, pp. 40 (5- 8 in roman), 271, with 56 engraved maps, comprising 4 folding maps all backed on linen and 52 maps of the counties of England and Wales, small stable binders tear to map of the roads, Channel map with 2 areas of loss at folds, otherwise in good clean condition.
Stock number: 10153


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