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SELLER, John

The History of England ... from the coming of Julius Caesar into Britain. With an Account of all the Plots, Conspiracies, Insurrections, and Rebellions. Likewise a Relation of the Wonderful Prodigies, Monstrous Births, Terrible Earth-Quakes, Dreadful Sights in the Air, Lamentable Famines, Plagues, Thunders, Lightningts, and Fires, etc. to the Year 1696 ... Together with a Particular Description of the Rarities in the several Counties of England and Wales: with Exact Maps of each County

Job and John How, for John Gwillim, London, 1696
Octavo (165 x 105 mm.), full contemporary calf, spine with blue calf gilt title label, worn. With engraved frontispiece portrait of William III, typographic title page, dedication to the King by John Seller, pp. (4), 654, 665-680, with 2 double page plates and 42 engraved maps (2 general and 40 English county), Monmouth bound with the general map of Wales near the end.
‘The History of England’ was published as a periodical. The Bagford collection at the British Library (Harley 5946 f.89) contains a set of proposals dated 6 Feb. 1695/6, inviting book sellers to buy the sheets wholesale at fourteen pence a quire (twenty-five sheets) and to sell door-to-door at a penny a sheet. This is accompanied by a 1696 title bearing the imprint of Gwillim and no mention of Seller. The Yale example of 1697 also contains the same additional title and refers in an address ‘To the Reader’ as the work being issued ‘a Sheet at a time … at a Penny a Sheet’.

Seller is presumed to have been behind the work but his name does not appear on all variants of the title page. Shares in the publication were sold to different publishers. There are three different title pages dated 1696. This printed by Job and John How for John Gwillim, another by John Gwillim omitting the printers name and that of Seller and one with the imprint of Samuel Clarke. Only the first states in the title ‘With Exact Maps of each County’ and is the only one to contain any. There are only six institutional examples of this variant: the British Library, Cambridge University Library, Folger Library, Princeton University Library, Clark Library, University of California, Los Angeles and Ballieu Library, University of Melbourne. The number of maps in each appears to vary slightly but are fundamentally the English counties only accompanied by some general maps. Here we find the map of England and Wales and a separate one of Wales alone.

The maps are from John Seller’s ‘Anglia Contracta’. Gwillim or Guillim was a bookseller and publisher active in London from 1684-1719. Chubb recording the third edition of 1703 states that he ‘failed to find the two previous editions’. The text is continuous despite the pagination gap. Provenance: With the manuscript ownership inscription of ‘Green Pickering’ on first free endpaper; Hugh Fattorini, Skipton Castle; acquired by Alex Jackson (pencil notations) when he bought a number of atlases from him in the late 70s. Arber Term Catalogues III 31; not in Chubb refer 121; ESTC R15220; Hodson 3 no. 120a, p. 123 & note 1; Shirley ‘Atlases in the British Library’ T.Sell 10c; Skelton 119.
Stock number: 10055

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