Surrey — The first large-scale survey of Surrey
By ROCQUE, John, 1787
A Topographical Map of the County of Surrey In which is Expressed all the Roads, Lanes, Churches, Noblemen, and Gentlemen’s Seats, &c. &c., the Principal Observations, by the Late John Rocque, Topographer to HIs Majesty, Compleated and Engraved by Peter Andrews. To His Royal Highness William Henry Duke of Gloucester & Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught Ireland. This Actual Survey of the County of Surrey in most humbly inscrib’d by his Royal Highness’s most humble and obliged Servant. Mary Ann Rocque.
- Author: ROCQUE, John
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: Mary Ann Rocque
- Publication date: c1787
- Physical description: Large oblong folio (580 by 720mm), large engraved map on nine sheets, bound in plano, six sheets remargined at right, with no loss to image, green half calf over original eighteenth century marbled paper boards, rebacked and recornered, red morroco label lettered in gilt to upper board.
- Dimensions: 570 by 700mm. (22.5 by 27.5 inches).
- Inventory reference: 2411
Rocque’s work began with plans of private estates, and expanded to town plans based on surveys commissioned by Rocque himself. These larger town and county plans were a response to a growing demand for improved regional cartography, borne out of civic pride. Rocque’s effort in this sphere were part of a larger effort in British cartography towards more accurate surveying and cartography, but he was the only one of his contemporaries initiating projects on this scale not to declare bankruptcy. His modus operandi was to dedicate each work to an influential or wealthy figure, as the costs of surveys were rarely met by the proceeds of sales. Mary Ann Rocque followed her husband’s example by dedicating their map of Surrey to a wealthy patron. The large and spectacular cartouche in the upper left corner contains a dedication to William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and includes his portrait. The Duke sits on a cloud, with his attention directed towards the text by Apollo, surrounded by the nine Muses. The globe and telescope of Urania are given particular prominence. The map itself mirrors his previous productions, with a delicate use of hatching to differentiate between arable and pasture allowing land-use to be easily ascertained. It is, however, peculiar in that it is oriented to magnetic north instead of true north, and this may cause a little confusion at first glance.
A map of immense detail combined with clarity of expression, a fine example of a rare large-scale county survey of which only a handful have survived.