Quarto, two volumes (205 x 130 mm. each), full contemporary mottled calf, gilt panels, worn, with very ornate gilt spines consisting of ornate gilt ruled compartments, each with ornate central feature, gilt calf volume and title labels. Volume I pp. (iv), 410, (8) with 14 county maps, 2 town plans, 1 folding map of the environs of London (not called for) and 7 further engravings. Volume II pp. (2), 392, (10) and 27 further maps. With some light offsetting as usual, otherwise in good condition.
Benjamin Martin (1705-82) was baptised in Surrey and married in Chichester in 1729. Three he became a schoolmaster for a short while before touring the country giving lectures. A self-educated person he spent his life following several enlightenment style subjects of interest and encouraged others through education and publishing. His school background also allied with his desire to encourage learning amongst the masses, his publications were all priced affordably. He also took over the globe making business of James Ferguson and made optical and mathematical instruments.
Reflecting his broad interests in natural philosophy he announced in November 1754 his plan for a ‘General Magazine’. The publisher was to be William Owen who was very experienced at part works. It was launched on 1 February 1755 as ‘The General Magazine of Arts and Sciences’ and was issued in parts until 1764. Most of the accompanying text was written by Martin himself. Part of the work describes the counties of England and Wales and illustrates them with maps engraved by Emanuel Bowen.
This is a rare two-volume topographical work on the counties of England and Wales utilising the text and plates from part of the ‘General Magazine’. The counties are described in ‘Camden’ order beginning in the south west. The list of counties on the title page of volume II omits in error those of Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. This example includes the folding plan of London often missing and a folding plan of the environs of London more often bound in to the ‘Miscellaneous Correspondence’ volume of the ‘Magazine’. Martin was made bankrupt 7 January 1782 and died following a suicide attempt on 9 February. Provenance: private English collection. Chubb (1927) 215; Hodson (1984-97) no. 230; Shirley (2004) T.Mart 1a.