Atlases.- Saxton (Christopher) [An Atlas of England and Wales], first edition, engraved frontispiece depicting Queen Elizabeth seated, surrounded by allegorical figures of astronomy and cartography (Hind first state with Elizabeth's dress stretched across her knees, trimmed to margins and laid down), 34 engraved double-page and folding maps only (of 35, lacking the general map of England and Wales), all coloured in a contemporary hand, ?lacking the double page coats-of-arms & gazetteer plate and the letterpress index leaf (supplied in manuscript in red and black in a later hand), all maps with the bunch of grapes watermark visible, with 11 maps bearing Seckford's pre-1576 motto (Pestis patriae pigricies), and 23 his later motto (Industria naturam ornate), occasional light browning and offsetting to maps, a few maps with short tears to central folds, Hertfordshire and Denbigh with vertical crease, folding map of Yorkshire with neatly repaired tear, 1 or 2 maps closely shaved, an interleaved copy with manuscript tables of rent owed for certain hundreds in a near-contemporary hand to 7ff., ink ownership inscriptions to pastedown, contemporary calf, gilt, covers with gilt corner-pieces surrounding central gilt lozenge, neatly rebacked, preserving original backstrip, rubbed, lacking clasps, folio, Christopher Saxton, 1579 [?but c.1590].
⁂ First edition of the earliest and most-celebrated atlas of England and Wales with a good contemporary provenance. At the behest of Thomas Seckford, master of requests to Queen Elziabeth, Saxton undertook a survey of the British counties between 1570 and 1578 and first issued his atlas in 1579.
Provenance: The earliest ownership inscription reads "Geo. Cotton" and is dated 1589, below in a later hand reads "my Grand father gave me this book ano 1645" below this is the final inscription "Combermere, Robert Wellington 1896". The first inscription is likely that of George Cotton (1560-1646), grandson of Sir George Cotton (1505-1545), Sherriff of Denbighshire and courtier to Henry VIII. Henry VIII granted George Cotton the former abbey of Combermere in 1541. The hundreds listed are in Herefordshire, Denbigh, Flintshire, Anglesea, Caernarvon, Merionethshire, Montgomeryshire and Brecknockshire.