ARROWSMITH, John (1790-1873, publisher)
The London Atlas of Universal Geography, exhibiting the physical & political divisions of the various countries of the world, constructed from original materials
London: J. Arrowsmith, 1842 [i.e. 1841-1849]. Large folio. (21 x 14 inches). Engraved throughout: title, preface/contents leaf, 67 double-page engraved maps (several with extending flaps), hand-coloured or hand-coloured in outline, each notched at the fore-edge margin as issued with a letterpress tab.
Contemporary half red morocco and purple cloth covered boards, original red morocco lettering piece on the upper cover, rebacked preserving the original spine, worn at joints and edges, marbled endpapers
One of the finest 19th-century English atlases, including Arrowsmith's highly important map of Texas.
Arrowsmith first published his famous map of the Republic of Texas on 16 November 1841, shortly after the Republic was officially recognized by Great Britain. The present example is in the second state, dated 8 June 1843. Arrowsmith's map of Texas "was probably the first to show the full extent of Texas's claim to the region of the upper Rio Grande, an area included within Texas's boundaries until the Compromise of 1850 ... the map certainly was the best information on Texas geography available in Europe" (Martin & Martin Maps of Texas and the Southwest , 32; see also Streeter Bibliography of Texas , 1373).
This work as a whole is one of the finest examples of English 19th century atlases by one of its greatest geographers, John Arrowsmith, the nephew of Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1833). The younger Arrowsmith introduced The London Atlas in 1834 and subsequent editions appeared with title pages dated 1840, 1842 and 1858, but as Arrowsmith was continually adding new maps, there is no firm collation for any edition. The contents sheet for this copy, for example, calls for fifty maps, but it has been supplemented with an additional seventeen maps bound in at the end. The maps were also continuously updated and corrected, so that most appear in several states. This example contains no maps in states copyrighted earlier than 1841 and includes maps dated up to 1849. The maps are based upon documents supplied by `The Colonial Office, the Hydrographical Office of the Admiralty, the East India Company, the Royal Asiatic Society, the Royal Geographical Society', and numerous other `Offices, Companies, and Societies'.
The later editions of the atlas are the most valuable, as they include a larger number of maps, and many new ones of great importance, such as those in the present example of Texas and also Australia. The Library of Congress, for example, has an 1834 edition, which contains just two maps relating to Australia. The present example has a total of seven maps devoted to Australia and New Zealand and includes some of the most important for the region published during the 19th century.
Phillips Atlases 790 (a comparable edition with title dated 1842, containing the additional 17 map sheets dated to 1853).