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  • Print publication year: 2002
  • Online publication date: March 2008

10 - Maps and Atlases

Mapmakers and publishers are found who were nominally Grocers, Merchant Taylors, Leathersellers, Drapers or Weavers. This was in part historical accident, but it was perhaps also that the Stationers had less to offer purveyors of maps. It is against this background that the first English atlas, the Christopher Saxton atlas of England and Wales of 1579, needs be set. Following Moxon's 'waggoner' a further attempt was made to break into maritime publishing by John Seller, originally a compass maker and from his premises on the river at Wapping a supplier of instruments, almanacs and navigational texts. John Seller's did however attempt to undertake a full-scale survey of the country under the working title Atlas Anglicanus. Maps and atlases were conceived as much a matter of art as of science, and the handsome folios of Saxton and Speed, often surviving with vibrant contemporary hand colour, are among the most breath-taking examples of the craftsmanship of the period.
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The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain
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