The first road atlas

By OGILBY, John., 1675 

Britannia… Interarium Angliae: 

Or, a Book of Roads, Wherein are Contain’d the Principal Road-Ways of His Majesty’s Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales: actually admeasured and delineated in a century of whole-sheet copper-sculps and illustrated with the ichnography of the several cities and capital towns.

World
  • Author: OGILBY, John.
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed by the Author at his House in White-Fryers.
  • Publication date: 1675.
  • Physical description: Folio (420 by 270mm). Engraved frontispiece by Wenceslaus Hollar, 17 preliminary leaves bound before letterpress title page, one additional preliminary leaf, two page general map of England, and 100 double-page engraved maps showing the roads of England and Wales, 200pp text, two additional preliminary leaves bound at the end, later half calf over marbled paper boards, spine lavishly gilt, rubbed. Frontispiece torn in upper right corner, rebacked, three supplied maps loosely inserted.
  • Inventory reference: 16353

Notes

A fine, tall example of the first edition of Ogilby’s famous road book; the first national road-atlas of any country and a landmark in the mapping of England and Wales.

Ogilby’s work was composed of maps of seventy-three major roads and cross-roads, presented in a continuous strip form, not unlike a modern satellite navigation system. For the first time in England, and atlas was prepared on a uniform scale, at one inch to a mile, based on the statute mile of 1760 yards to the mile. Ogilby claimed that 26,600 miles of roads were surveyed in the course of preparing the atlas, but only about 7,500 were actually depicted in print.

In its comprehensiveness, its incorporation of new devices of computation and delineation, and its opulence of paper, design and decoration, it immediately set a new standard for mapmaking in England… this volume was an attempt at a scientific study not only of the roads, but also the terrain and habitations on either side of the roads.” (K.S. Eerde, John Ogilby and the Taste of his Times’, 1976, p.137.

Bibliography

  1. Chubb C
    • 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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