The atlas and the map-makers
John Cary became one of the leading cartographic engravers, publishers and globe-makers of the period. He also became noted for his original surveys, but this is one of his earlier major works and he draws heavily on ‘A Map of the Country Sixty Five Miles Round London’, a superb map by Andrew Drury and John Andrews, published about a decade earlier and on the same scale of one inch to the mile.
From the very first Cary displayed sound commercial instincts. His biographer Sir George Fordam described him as the map-maker who ‘first combined care and beauty of design, with something really approximate to geographical accuracy’. The really smart move here though was to combine a work with broad appeal to the carriage trade – ‘every seat shewn with the name of the possessor’ is the claim on the title-page – with a format which was exactly the right size for the pocket of an overcoat.
Condition & Materials
Pocket atlas (19 cm tall), comprising: double-page index map, engraved title-page and ‘explanation’ leaf, 50 single-page engraved maps with original hand colour, each with a blank verso, and a 24 page letterpress index. One or two trivial spots and stains, Contemporary tree calf, headcaps and upper joint renewed preserving original spine with classical urn motif in gilt, 19th century armorial bookplate of a member of the Bowles family.