Owen, John & Bowen Emanuel : Britannia Depicta or Ogilby Improv'd; being a Correct Coppy of Mr. Ogilby's Actual Survey of all ye Direct & Principal Cross Roads in England and Wales, wherein are exactly delineated and engraven all ye cities, towns, village


 

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London, Thomas Bowles, 1724, 4th Edition. Hardcover, 8vo 8" - 9" tall, [4] 273 [1]pp. Speckled calf rebacked with five raised bands and contrasting spine label bearing gilt titles, corners a little rubbed, recent endpapers, engraved title page with slight staining and adhesion along gutter, near contemporary ink dedication on verso of title with slight offsetting to pp.1, 273 (complete) uncoloured engraved county and strip road maps, printed back to back, pp.27 torn with slight loss but not affecting image, pps. 49 & 51 with loss to fore edge margin not affecting image,

John Ogilby (1600-1676) had a varied career which included time as a dancing-master, a theatre owner, a poet and translator but is most famous as a publisher of geographical works and atlases, something he came to late in his life with his most famous work only appearing the year before his death. In 1671 Ogilby had secured the title of 'His Majesty's Cosmographer' and he drew on royal support in the publication of his most famous work "Britannia … an illustration of the kingdom of England and dominion of Wales: by a geographical and historical description of the principal roads thereof." (1675). For 'Britannia' Ogilby drew out 2519 miles of road in the form of strip maps, a technique that would be widely copied for the next century. The maps made allowance for roads that ascended hills yet had to be depicted in two dimensions on paper, and his surveys helped to standardize the mile at 1760 yards throughout the kingdom. It is this work that Emanuel Bowen (1693-1767) reproduced in a smaller format for his very successful 'Britannia Depicta..' which not only reduced the size of the maps but added fifty-four county maps and historical notes by John Owen. The work was a great success going through a number of editions within just a few years of its appearance and continuing to be reprinted throughout the first half of the 18th century.

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