Steel engraving, 40 x 64 cm, map of London engraved by Benjamin Rees Davies, original hand colour, imprint trimmed in lower margin, centrefold split without loss, small stain in upper part of the map on either side of the centrefold, blank verso.
Howgego notes half a dozen states of the map published between 1843 and c.1880, though not this one. Our example, dated 1851 and revised to show the location of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, falls between the editions of 1848 and c.1858.
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was founded in 1826 with the high-minded aim of making ‘useful’ information available to self-taught members of the working and lower middle classes. Some of the material was decidedly abstruse, subscribers fell away and the Society was wound up in 1848; however, the series of 209 maps published over a 14 year period from 1829 onwards were highly praised for their superior quality, accuracy and aesthetic appeal and remain an outstanding achievement. Howgego, Printed maps of London, 385 (2a/3).