“The Map that Changed the World”
By SMITH, William, 1815
A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with Part of Scotland; exhibiting the Colleries and Mines, the Marshes and Fen Lands originally overflowed by the Sea, and the Varieties of Soil according to the Variations in the Substrata, Illustrated by the most descriptive Names. [together with] A Memoir to the Map and Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland. By William Smith, Engineer and Mineral Surveyor.
- Author: SMITH, William
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: John Cary
- Publication date: 1815.
- Physical description: Large engraved wall map, dissected and mounted on linen, in three sections, fine original full-wash colour, signed and numbered “a65” by the author to the lower right corner of the north section, third issue (the “a” series), housed in original brown mottled paper slipcase, rubbed.
- Dimensions: 2325 by 1850mm. (91.5 by 72.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 14309
Five states of Smith’s work have been identified: an early unnumbered state (known in only a few copies); a series numbered 1–100, which Smith signed between 2 November and 17 December 1815; a series numbered a1-100 (the present example is of this series), signed between 17 December 1815 and 23 January 1816; a series numbered b1-100, signed after 23 January 1816; and an unnumbered series probably issued in 1823 or later (watermarks are dated 1823).
“The map was supplied either in sheets [usually bound as an atlas], or mounted on canvas and rollers, or fitted in a case for travelling [as in the present example]” (Eyles, Bibliography). Most probably no more than 320–350 copies of the map were published, of which perhaps 130 survive today.
The present example corresponds to Eyles’ second issue, series III map: “a65”, was examined and signed by Smith on 13 January 1816. It was one of a batch of 15, which had been coloured by Morse, signed that day and numbered.
Scale: 5 miles to one inch.