British Isles


Hand coloured steel engraving by Thomas Moule from Barclay's Complete and Universal English Dictionary published circa 1845.

Image size: 8 1/4” x 10 3/4”

Generally good condition throughout. Trimmed close to margins, as per original publication. The colour is of recent vintage, but based on an original source.

Thomas Moule (1784-1851) was originally a London bookseller. His interest in heraldry and cartography resulted in him publishing a much-admired series of detailed and decorative English county maps.

The maps are ingeniously embellished with ornamental borders and armorials – very much in tune with the early Victorian Gothic Revival - and feature an idiosyncratic selection of vignettes depicting the notable architectural and topographical features of each county.

These maps - among the last series in the tradition of decorated English county maps - were originally published in parts between 1830 and 1836 and issued separately under the umbrella  title of Moule's County Maps. In 1837 George Virtue reissued them as an atlas entitled The English Counties Delineated. Moule’s plates were subsequently republished in Barclay's Complete and Universal English Dictionary, first published in 1842 running through several editions until 1852. Their final publication was in the 1870s when thirty of the maps were included in Hume and Smollett’s The History of England.

The lifespan of the maps lasted forty years, during which time the plates were revised and updated - most notably between 1837 and 1839 - to take into account the changes wrought by the Reform Bill of 1832 and the rapid expansion of the railways. There is, therefore, a curious contradiction between the obvious antiquarianism of the imagery of the maps and their subsequent, yet necessary, acknowledgment of the new industrial capitalism that embraced the railway age.


£85.00  mounted, unframed

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