Folio (570 x 405 mm.), recent half calf, marbled paper boards, blind ruled, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled compartments and gilt burgundy calf title label. With typographic titles in French and English, general map of England and Wales by Kitchin, general map of Scotland by James Dorret dated 1761, Bayly of Ireland, and 44 engraved double-page map sheets, all with early outline colour, creasing to title-pages, Dorset with slight margin tear, Kent with short tear at foot of centrefold, otherwise in good condition.
The maps from Emanuel Bowen and Thomas Kitchin’s beautiful ‘Large English Atlas’ were first separately published and early issues of the work can be found with varying contents. The final tally of sheets for the atlas was forty-five. The project began at the hands of the publisher John Hinton before he ran into financial difficulties. They are superb clear and concise engravings. In the history of English county atlases, it is hard to think of one with finer quality. Wardington praised the book saying that ‘the size of the plate presented the publishers, the engravers and the printers with as formidable a task as any posed by the finest productions of Louis XIV or XV, the best of the Dutch engravings fifty years earlier, or the Ordnance Survey sheets fifty years later’. Hodson 221 provides a thorough account of the complex history of this atlas, which was finally completed and issued with a title-page c.1762. Around 1767 two partners Carington Bowles and Robert Sayer decided to issue title pages with their imprints only. This is an example of Sayer’s. The maps bear imprints in Hodson’s states e, f and g indicating a slightly later issue in which John Bowles’ imprint is removed from many. This occurred according to Hodson because Carington bought the shares of his father John Bowles. Provenance: Bonhams 15 June 2016 lot 2. Bonar-Law (1997) 97.iii; not in Chubb (1927); Hodson (1984-97) 226; Moir (1973) p. 191.