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British County Maps

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Jansson: Lancashire
Jan Jansson. "Lancastria Palatinatus. Anglis Lancaster & Lancashire." Amsterdam: J. Jansson, ca. 1646. 15 x 20. Double folio. Engraving. Original hand color. Attached to board. Narrow margins beyond neatlines.

A map of Lancashire by Jan Jansson from the Hondius-Jansson Atlas. This was a later version of the Mercator Atlas, first issued at the end of the sixteenth century. That atlas was originally continued by Jodocus Hondius, who purchased the plates from the heirs of Mercator in 1606. He was then followed by his son, Henricus Hondius, who with Jan Jansson, Henricus' brother-in-law, continued to publish the atlas beginning in 1630. The Jansson-Hondius atlases were constantly up-dated with new maps and information, as shown with this fine map, a good example of Jansson's work. The map is virtually identical to the Johannes Blaeu map, though with slightly different decoration. The title cartouche, in the lower left, features allegorical references to ports on the Irish Sea and decorative motifs at lower right celebrate husbandry with a herder and cattle. $375


  • "Hartfordshire." [1611]. 15 x 20. Uncolored. Some repair at top and bottom centerfold. Otherwise, very good condition. With insets of Hartford and St. Albans.

    John Speed (1552-1629) was one of the most famous British mapmakers of the seventeenth century. He is noted for placing England into the mainstream of map publishing that was currently dominated by the Dutch. He began by issuing maps of Great Britain in his atlas, Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, in 1611, issued by John Sudbury and George Humble. Speed spent over 15 years assembling the information for this atlas, and it is one of the most influential atlases of the British Isles ever published. Each county was illustrated with its own map, each filled with much detail, views, town plans, historic notes, coats-of-arms, and the like. For collector's of British county maps, these are among the most desirable there are. $975
    GoGo to page with other county and country maps by John Speed

    After John Speed. "Wilt shire." From John Speed's England Wales Scotland and Ireland Described. London: George Humble, 1632(?). Engraving. Ca. 3 1/2 x 5. Very good condition.

    About 1605-1610, Pieter van den Keere (Petrus Kaerius) issued a collection of 44 maps of parts of the British Isles, probably intended for an atlas covering the entire isles. The counties of England and Wales were after the maps of Christopher Saxton (issued in 1579), those of Ireland were after the work of Abraham Ortelius, and those of Scotland after B. Boazio. Within a few years, John Speed issued his famous folio atlas of the British Isles and soon thereafter the van den Keere plates were in the hands of Speed's publisher, George Humble. Humble had new plates engraved for the sections of the British Isles missing from the original group, had the titles changed to English, and then in 1627 issued the new set of maps as a miniature version to accompany the second edition of the folio Speed atlas. This "miniature Speed" atlas was probably issued again in conjunction with the 1632 Speed folio, and it is from that edition that this charming map came. It shows the county of Wiltshire based on John Speed's rendering. A wonderful and early image. $65
    GoGo to page with other maps from the "Speed miniature atlas."

    Jansson: Essex
    Jan Jansson. "Essexiæ Descriptio. The Description of Essex." Amsterdam: J. Jansson, ca. 1640. Engraving. Ca. 15 x 19 1/2. Original outline color. Some repaired marginal tears and some paper toning, but overall very good condition.

    Along with those of his rival Joan Blaeu (cf. below), Jan Jansson produced some of the most sought-after and decorative maps of British counties. Jansson, the son-in-law of Jodocus Hondius, partnered with the latter's son in publishing atlases containing beautiful maps of all parts of the world. One of these atlases included county maps of the British Isles, including these excellent images. They show impressive detail and include decorative cartouches as well as other decorative flourishes. $625

    Blaeu: Huntington Shire
    Maps by Joan Blaeu. Amsterdam: J. Blaeu, ca. 1645-60. Engravings. Folio maps. Full original hand coloring. Full margins. Very good condition.

    The Blaeu cartographic firm of Amsterdam was started by Willem Blaeu at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The firm soon grew to become the largest and most important cartographic publishing firms in the world, run by his sons Cornelis (until his death in 1642) and Joan. The maps issued by the Blaeu firm are known for their fine engraving, coloring and design, and have been called "the highest expression of Dutch cartographic art." These beautiful maps of British counties issued by the firm are typical of their work, with clear topographical information as well as profuse decorative elements. These include coats-of-arms and heraldic shields of various local noblemen and delightfully illustrated title cartouches.

    Robert Morden. "Wilt Shire." From William Camden's Britannia. London: Edmund Gibson, 1695. First edition. Ca. 14 x 16 1/2, except as noted. Uncolored as issued. Full margins. Very good condition, except as noted.

    A map of Wiltshire from Camden's famous description of Great Britain issued the late seventeenth century. These maps are noted for their clear detail and attractive cartouches. Of particular interest is Morden's measurement of longitude based on a prime meridian through St. Paul's Cathedral in London, shown in minutes at the top and degrees at the bottom. $210
    GoGo to listing of other maps from Camden's Britannia

    Emanuel Bowen. "An Accurate Map of Berkshire...." London: J. & T. Bowles, R. Sayer & J. Tinney, 1756-60. 21 x 27. Engraving by E. Bowen. Narrow margin at bottom; otherwise, full margins. Original outline color. Some small iron gall ink stains in top corners. Light stain in left margin, extending 1 3/4" inside neat line at widest point. Small replaced section in left margin, 2" at widest point, extending to just inside neat line. Separation along bottom 4" of center fold; repaired. Otherwise, very good condition.

    Another wonderful map from the Large English Atlas. This map is by Emanuel Bowen, equally well known as a cartographer to his colleague in the atlas, Thomas Kitchin. This map of Berkshire has several paragraphs dotted about the map describing major towns, a list of the seats of the local nobility, and a text about the Earls of Berkshire. Two elaborate cartouches grace opposite corners. Hills, roads, towns, villages, cities, country estates, churches, and much else is clearly presented, and the hundreds are outlined in contrasting colors. A most impressive map historically and visually. $350

    Two large Bowen pocket maps

    Published in 1765, London by R. Sayer and J. & C Bowles. Both maps dissected into 16 sections, mounted on linen and folded into original paper covers. Each ca. 27 x 21. Engravings by E. Bowen. Original outline color. The large county maps by Bowen were not just issued in the Large English Atlas (cf. above), but also as separate maps. These maps were mounted on linen so that they folded into a small, ca. 6 1/2 x 5 1/2, size, which then was inserted into a paper envelope. Maps such as this would be easier to handle, store, and perhaps use when one was travelling. Maps such as this, however, are also scarcer as they have a much lower survival rate than atlas maps. Following are two nice examples.

    John Cary. "A New Map of Northumberland, Divided into Wards exhibiting Roads, Rivers Parks &c." London: J. Cary, 1807. 21 x 18 1/2. Engraving. Original hand color. Full margins. Fine condition.

    This fine map shows mountainous regions in the north portrayed as molehill style and with attractive color. To East and South are landholdings with lovely hand color. Also in the south area are representations of the "Roman Wall." $225

    James Duncan. "New Map of the County of Norfolk." From A Complete County Atlas of England & Wales. London: J. Duncan, 1833. Engravings by Edward Hoare and J. Reeves. Ca. 17 x 14. Original outline color. Very good condition.

    From a striking set of county maps of England and Wales by James Duncan. Each map shows the hundreds, the district divisions, "and other Local Arrangements effected by the Reform Bill." Detail is most impressive, all finely and clearly engraved, and this includes parks, towns and villages, major estates, some topography, rivers, lakes, and woods. Issued during a period of great expansion of the transportation network throughout the country, these maps carry particularly good information on canals and roads, including mail, turnpike, 'good travelling,' and bye roads. $225
    GoGo to listing of other maps from Duncan's atlas

    Thomas Moule. "Dorsetshire." From The English Counties Delineated. London: George Virtue, 1837. Engraving with original hand color. 8 x 10. Trimemd slightly at left. Else, very good condition.

    A map of Dorsetshire from probably the most attractive of the nineteenth century series of British county maps. Included are vignettes of scenes, buildings, coats-of-arms, and monuments reflecting more than just the topography of the county depicted. It is maps like these which make collecting British county maps so satisfying. $85
    GoGo to listing of other maps from Moule's atlas

    "Dorsetshire." $75

    Ordnance SurveyGo to page with listing of Ordnance Survey maps of Great Britain from the 1920s-1930sOrdnance Survey


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