William Pinnock (1782-1843) was baptised in Alton, Hampshire, on 3 February 1782 and began his career as a schoolmaster. He then became a bookseller in Alton and wrote his first book in 1810. At the time, levels of literacy in the nation were rising rapidly, creating a large new market for educational material. He moved his business to Newbury, Berkshire, in 1811 and in December 1814 married Ann Maunder, sister to Samuel Maunder (1785-1849) from Devon. In 1817 the pair went into partnership and moved to London acquiring the ‘premises of the ‘Literary Gazette’ at 267 Strand and took shares in that publication’ (ODNB). They began to publish a series of highly successful catechisms in Pinnock’s name, constructed in the manner of questions and answers. From about 1819 he began a series entitled ‘Pinnock’s County Catechisms’.
The first part of the ‘Guide to Knowledge’ was published 7 July 1832. It was to be issued in weekly parts at one penny each and it was recommended that it be acquired by ‘the numbers as they are published, or in Monthly Parts, in order to bind them together in a Volume’. Such is the case here with the first seventeen monthly parts including parts 1 to 87.
The Address states ‘its pages are chiefly devoted to the practical or speculative Sciences: Ethics and Physics, or Moral and Natural Philosophy’. The last part was dated 26 December 1835, a total of 209 numbers. Included with the series were many maps, 32 of countries of the world, a complete celestial atlas and a full set of county maps accompanied by 15 plans of British towns. On top of this are hundreds of further engravings.
The maps engraved for the ‘Guide to Knowledge’ are unique amongst English county atlases in that they are incised into the woodblock, so that upon printing the image is white on a black background. The maps were the work of Joshua Archer (1792?-1863) and Selena Hall (fl.1831-53, the widow of the engraver Sidney Hall). Provenance: with French annotations to front free endpaper on the book’s cost and binding; private English collection; Beresiner (1983) p. 181; Burden, Webb & Burgess (1989); Carroll (1996) 98; not in Chubb (1927).