Wood engraving, 2 sheets joined, sheets size 49.5 x 128.5 cm, map 45 x 122 cm, black and white, laid on linen; ‘published with part 67 of Cassell’s Old & New London’.
Bird’s eye map-view of Tudor London, derived from George Vertue’s 1737 edition of a map which he attributed to Elizabethan surveyor Ralph Agas. In common with most early maps of London, it was ultimately derived from the lost ‘copperplate map’ of the late 1550’s which was commissioned by Hanseatic merchants eager to curry favour with Queen Mary. No examples of the copperplate map survive, although we do have smaller early versions, such as Braun and Hogenberg’s plan of 1572. Just three examples of a large woodcut version created circa 1633 still exist, and it was an example of this map which George Vertue copied, at roughly full size, after seeing it in the collection of Sir Hans Sloane.
It was Vertue who first attributed the map to the Elizabethan surveyor Ralph Agas when he exhibited his version to the Society of Antiquaries, and the attribution persists on Dower’s Victorian version. It was first published in Edward Weller’s Weekly Dispatch Atlas in 1863, and for the benefit of his modern readers Dower superimposed the locations of later additions to London such as Waterloo Bridge, Russell Square, the British Museum and the terminus of the newly built Metropolitan Railway. This edition was issued with Walter Thornbury and Edward Walford’s ‘Old and New London’, originally published in parts 1873-1878 and reprinted as a six volume work thereafter.