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.
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
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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
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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
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"The Oarsman's and Angler's Map of the River Thames From Its Source To London Bridge." London: James Reynolds & Sons, 4 April 1881. Separately issued, folding map, mounted on linen. 102 x 5 1/2. Lithographed in color. Very good condition. Folding into original cloth covers with gold embossing.
A narrow folding map that follows the Thames from its source to London, issued as a practical guide for boaters or anglers on the river. The course of the river is depicted with distances from London Bridge noted, and indications of roads, towns, weirs, locks, toll paths, railroads, inns, farms, and much else along the way. Also included are notes on the various towns, docking places, ferries, and so forth, making this a guide that would have well prepared any boatman on the Thames in the 1880s. $175
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