1720 Yorkshire, Northumberland, Durham..


1 in stock

Early 18th century map taking in Great Smeton in Yorkshire, Darlington, Durham… on verso Newcastle, Morpeth and Gofforth in Northumberland.

SKU: MA0637 Categories: , ,

The map is taken from Britannia Depicta or Ogilby Improv’d, Being a Correct Copoy of Mr Ogilby’s Actual Survey of all ye Direct and Principal Cross Roads of England and Wales…Engraved by Emanuel Bowen…From the Best Authorities, by John Owen, an illustrated road atlas of Britain engraved by Emanuel Bowen and enhanced with little known historical facts supplied by antiquarian John Owen. The atlas was based on the earlier work of John Ogilby who created the first ‘to scale’ road atlas of Britain in 1675.

Thomas Bowles, established print and map seller in conjunction with Emanuel Bowen, decided to trump Thomas Gardner and John Senex, who were also planning reduced-format reissues of Ogilby, by augmenting the original work with 54 county maps and “a multitude of historical, topographical and statistical information” (Hodson) written by the antiquarian John Owen, the whole engraved onto 273 strip-maps by the leading map maker Emanuel Bowen. Bowles puffed his edition extravagantly, claiming that “One leaf of this, contains more Observations than any whole book of this Nature yet publish’d”, and evidently stirred up “a great demand as there were four editions issued from 1720 to 1724” (Chubb)

Britannia Depicta or Ogliby Improv’d contained 273 road maps along with drawings of landmarks and miniature county maps of each of the counties of England and Wales. It augmented John Ogilby’s original with additional historical and heraldic detail. As the atlas was printed with maps on both sides of the page the map became a tool for travellers. Whether the result was wholly practical is questionable: the layout is cluttered, with three or four strip maps per page, in addition to the county maps, armorials, and minutely engraved cursive text; but it is certainly decorative and must have been a novelty on publication.

Ogilby’s own survey was the first of the roads of England and Wales, was “securely based on contemporary and collaborative research” (ODNB), and “is of particular and historical importance, as it displaced the old British mile of 2,428 yards, and substituted it for the statute mile of 1,760 yards, thus effecting a revolution in customary measurements” (Chubb, p. 444).

Emanuel Bowen, map and print seller, was engraver to George II and to Louis XV of France and worked in London from about 1714 onwards producing some of the best and most attractive maps of the century. He had plans for completing a major County Atlas but, finding the task beyond his means, joined with Thomas Kitchin to publish The Large English Atlas. Many of the maps were issued individually from 1749 onwards and the whole atlas was not finally completed until 1760. With one or two exceptions they were the largest maps of the counties to appear up to that time (690 x 510mm) and are unusual in that the blank areas round each map are filled with historical and topographical detail which makes fascinating and amusing reading. The atlas was re-issued later in reduced size. Apart from his county maps and atlases of different parts of the world he also issued (with John Owen fl. 1720) a book of road maps based, as was usual at that time, on Ogilby, but again incorporating his own style of historical and heraldic detail. In spite of his royal appointments and apparent prosperity he died in poverty and his son, Thomas, who carried on the business, was no more fortunate and died in a Clerkenwell workhouse in 1790.

Dimensions 20 × 14 cm
Map Maker

BOWEN, Emanuel / OWEN, John

Dimensions with Mount

35 x 29cm


London c1720


Bowen & Owen London c1720 numerous editions to 1764 in varying sizes
Printed for and sold for Tho. Bowles print and map seller next ye Chapter House in St Pauls Church-Yard and Em. Bowen next ye King of Spain in S: Katherines.


Excellent Condition

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