Britannia: or a chorographical description of the flourishing kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the islands adjacent; from the earliest antiquities…….. THREE VOLUMES.

Camden, (William) & Richard Gough.

Book ID: 32804


Folio. Volume I: CXLIX + 351 pp. + [35 index] + [ 1, index of plates & maps] + [ 1 corrections & additions], Engraved frontispiece portrait of Camden, + 1 engraved autograph letter + folding letter-press Pedigree + 4 pages illustrations British, Roman & Saxon coins + 13 steel engraved plates + 16 maps of which 13 are folding + 2 plans/ Volume II: [2] + 598 pp. + [ 37 index] + [ 1 index of plate & maps] + 22 folding maps + 23 plates of which one is folding, (Total 57 maps (most double-page) and 94 plates) ,last few pages foxed / Volume III: [3], 760 pp. + [ 53, including index + 12 folding maps + 5 maps some double page + 46 plates, first edition of Richard Gough's Translation., double column per page, some offsetting and light browning, occasional spotting, 19th century polished calf, gilt, spines faded, joints of vol. 1 weak, corners worn & slightly rubbed, by John Nichols, London, 1789.


First edition of Richard Gough’s Translation. First published in Latin in 1586, the first edition in English in 1610. “If Camden was not the first English historian (in the modern sense of the word), topographer and antiquarian, he was certainly the first to relate the three studies, and his “Britannia”, primarily topographical, is the first book which shows. the need to evaluate sources” (“Printing and the Mind of Man” 10). Camden’s was the first survey of Great Britain county by county and the first study of Roman Britain as perceived in the landscape of 16th-century Britain. For this new edition Gough completely translated Camden’s entire text, ” a task that took him seven years. The actual printing took a further nine. He was criticized by some for the method which he employed in retaining the original text entire and relegating all his own and Gibson’s additions to cumbersome footnotes at the bottom, and also for the accuracy of some of his translations and additions. He professed himself disappointed by the level of public interest. It was on the whole, however, agreed to be a work of immense value and the product of enormous labour. He had planned the enterprise since 1773 and collected new material assiduously from that date. As well as visiting every county himself, he called upon a network of antiquarian friends and correspondents to seek out information, check proofs, and offer suggestions” (R.H. Sweet for DNB). Gough’s work is illustrated throughout for the first time with large-scale maps by the celebrated cartographer John Cary: “Cary’s first known engraved plan is dated 1779. Henceforth, the quality of his engraving established new standards and a new style, with his effective, starkly beautiful, plain design being widely adopted. His firm’s cartographic output was prolific and diverse, ranging through maps, plans, atlases, astronomical and educational works, road-books (including works based on surveys by Aaron Arrowsmith the elder, who probably trained him), guides, and globes. Particularly noteworthy are the immensely popular New and Correct English Atlas (editions from 1787), which became the standard county atlas of the period, and the Traveller’s Companion (from 1790), the printing plates of both of which had to be replaced having become worn in the effort to meet the huge demand, and the particularly fine New English Atlas (from 1801) and New Universal Atlas (from 1808)” (David Smith for DNB).

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