Britannia: or a Chorographical Description of Great Britain and Ireland, Together with the Adjacent Islands

London: James and John Knapton et al, ND (1722). Maps, engravings. Hardcover. Folio. Two large volumes, in original full leather bindings. Title pages are printed in red and black, with an elegant full-page copper engraving of Camden as the frontispiece of the first volume. There are 50 double-page maps of the English counties, Ireland, Scotland, and 'the Islands'; six of the maps are folding. There are also twelve large full-page engravings, and numerous smaller engravings in the text. There is a comprehensive index and the errata page is present. A previous owner has reinforced the hinges with linen-like binding tape. The boards are quite worn and rubbed, but a competent bookbinder could restore both bindings. The contents are remarkable clean, with only occasional foxing, and a few stained pages. The maps, by the cartographer Robert Morden, and which are usually removed and sold individually, are all in excellent condition. Overall, a good set. Item #9900002372

William Camden (1551-1623) was an English antiquary and historian, who, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, travelled throughout England collecting material for 'Britannia', which was first published in 1586. Initially written in Latin, it is a survey of the British islands; its archaeology, geography, institutions, monetary system and inhabitants, 'chiefly intended for the instruction of foreigners' (or so Gibson states in his Preface to this edition). It was first translated into English in 1610, probably under Camden's direction (see Ency. Brit. 11th, vol. V, p. 101). Gibson's revision was first published in 1695. Our set is the undated 'Second Edition' but, by comparing particulars with available bibliographical resources, we believe it was published in 1722. Printing and the Mind of Man, 101.

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