Fine large paper copy of the Gibson edition of Camden’s Britannia

By CAMDEN, William, 1695 
£6,500
£3,900

Britannia

Newly Translated into English…

British Isles
  • Author: CAMDEN, William
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed by F. Collins, for A. Swalle, at the Unicorn at the West-end of St. Paul’s Church-yard; and A. & J. Churchil, at the Black Swan in Pater-noster-Row
  • Publication date: 1695.
  • Physical description: Folio (460 by 285mm), title, engraved portrait of Camden by R. White, 50 double-page and folding engraved maps, nine engraved plates of coins, engraved and woodcut illustrations, ownership inscription on title page, bookplate of Stuart of Dunnairn to upper pastedown, calf, gilt tooled spine in compartments.
  • Inventory reference: 16359

Notes

First edition of Gibson’s translation of Camden’s Britannia, with maps by Robert Morden.

William Camden (1551–1623) was an English antiquarian, topographer, and historian. He began work on his Britannia’ in 1577, after receiving a great deal of encouragement from many of the leading cartographers of the day, most notably Abraham Ortelius. The book would take him nine years, with the first edition appearing in 1586. The work, published originally in Latin, is a county-by-county description of the British Isles, detailing the country’s landscape, geography, antiquarianism, and history. It was to prove hugely popular, with six editions being published in the first 20 years. During his lifetime Camden continued to revise and expand the text with each new edition. He drew upon unpublished text by the likes of William Lambarde, and travelled extensively throughout Britain collecting first hand information, even taking the time to learn Welsh and Old English.

It would not be until the sixth edition, in 1607, that maps were incorporated into the work, with an English edition printed in 1610. In the early 1690s Dr Edmund Gibson began work upon a new translation of the Britannia with new maps drawn by the cartographer Robert Morden. Gibson lauded the maps as being the best ones made and printed since Saxton and Speed”. Morden’s maps include revised place-names according to contemporary usage. The work would be published in 1695, with the work going through four subsequent editions in 1722, c1730, 1753, and 1772.

Provenance

Ex libris Stuart of Dunnairn.

Bibliography

  1. Chubb CXIII.
    • Chubb, T., Skells, J. and Beharrell, H. (1977). The printed maps in the atlases of Great Britain and Ireland. Folkestone: Dawson.

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