London: Robert Morden & Abel Swall, 1698.
Folio atlas with Itinerarium Angliae pp. 48, followed by 100 double page road maps in a strip format. Many of the maps are frayed at the corners, affecting the margins only. Several words of text are missing from the lower right corner of the title page and dedication page. Inscription on the first fly leaf reads "Duplicate from the Library of the Earl of Leicester at Holkham Hall." Contemporary leather with large embossed gold family crest of Thomas Coke (1st Earl of Leicester), which reads "Prudens qui patiens" and features an ostrich holding a horseshoe perched on a hat. Cover re-backed and right corner re-attached.
John Ogilby's "Britannia," is an innovative atlas of road maps that contextualized travel between known points within physical features of the surrounding landscape. The usefulness of this combination of features shows itself in the well-used pages of this final version of the atlas. The volume contains 100 strip maps that collectively document 2,519 miles. While the atlas does not have page numbers, the maps are numbered in the lower right corner for ease of use. The atlas is particularly notable for its large-scale format, allowing for detailed description of even small roads in the Kingdom of England. The combination of these various advances has led many scholars to regard "Britannia" as the first major development in British cartography since the early 16th century. John Ogilby (1600--1676) is often noted in the literature for his wide ranging pursuits--dancer, actor, translator, tutor, among others--that, more often than not, ended in failure. But rather than thinking of these pursuits as unsuccessful, they might be better considered as steps toward his ultimate destiny: cartography. Ogilby got his first taste of the trade in 1666--himself at the age of 66--by surveying and mapping London after the Great Fire. The project inspired him to pursue and publish geographical descriptions of the wider world, including China, Japan, and Africa. In 1675, a year after he was appointed "Kings Cosmographer and Geographic Painter," he published the defining work of his career: a road atlas of England entitled "Britannia." The original volume was the first road atlas to include physical features from the landscape and was notable for its scale of one inch to a standard mile. This impressive and innovative volume finally secured Ogilby's place in the history books one of the most memorable and important figures of 17th-century cartography.