A New General Atlas, containing a Geographical and Historical Account of all the Empires, Kingdoms, and other Dominions of the World: with the natural history and trade of each country. Taken from the best Authors, ...

SENEX John (1721.)


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Folio (535 x 355 mm), title printed in red and black, with engraved vignette, thirteen plates of armorials,  thirty-four double-page engraved maps, Very handsome contemporary full calf, back richly gilt, boards with central gilt decoration surrounded by  generous gilt borders London : Daniel Browne sr., et al.,    

THIS IS A SUBSCRIBERS COPY from the Macclesfield library, with Lord Thomas Parker's name in the subscribers list and his arms below which  is engraved The Rght. Hon Lord Thomas Parker, Baron Macclesfield and Ld. Hgh, Chancellor of Great Britain. 


Senex's 'New General Atlas' was the most ambitious English atlas of the period, undertaken by a consortium of leading booksellers and publishers of the day. It was a substantial undertaking; the finished atlas comprises 34 maps, 261 pages of letterpress text and eleven page index; in order to spread the cost, and risk, the atlas was produced by subscription (there is a three-page list of subscribers printed at the front, and thirteen plates of subscribers' arms.


The first subscription announcement traced appeared in 'The Post Boy' for 21st - 23rd October 1718: "This Day is publish'd, Proposals for Printing a new General Atlas; being a Geographical and Historical Account of all the Empires, Kingdoms, &c. in the World: The Maps are laid down according to the Observations communicated to our Royal Society, the French Royal Academy of Sciences, and those of our latest Travellers; with full Descriptions adapted to the Maps ... I. To contain about 100 Sheets of an Elephant Paper, printed on the same Letter with the Proposals, and the Maps upon distinct Sheets handsomely illuminated. II. The Price is two Guineas and a half, one Guinea in Hand, and the Remainder on the Delivery of the Book. ...".


The atlas had a long gestation, with frequent apologies for delays, the publishers talking about: "... The vast Encouragement given by Persons of the highest Rank, as well as others, both in this and Foreign Nations, having animated the Undertakers to spare no Cost or Pains to render the Work Complete, has occasioned it to swell to many Sheets more than at first proposed, and of consequence delayed the Work; 'tis therefore hop'd that Gentlemen will not be uneasy, especially considering that the Additions (tho' about a sixth Part of the whole) will put them to no Expence. ...".


It was finally ready on 2nd February, 1721, when it was announced in the 'Daily Courant'; being such an immense project, the publishers seem to have printed large numbers, as it was still advertised as being available in 1723. The maps and text give an up-to-date overview of the countries of the world but, as Sabin noted, the atlas is "[c]hiefly interesting for the copiousness of its information concerning America, which is illustrated by seven immense maps"; these include a general map of the Americas, 'A New Map of the English Empire in America', illustrating the English colonies of the eastern seaboard, 'A New Map of Virginia Mary-land and the Improved Parts of Pennsylvania & New Jersey,' copied from the landmark Augustine Herrman map of the region (1673), 'A Map of Louisiana and the Mississippi River ...', illustrating the conflicting English and French territorial claims in the interior, dedicated to William <sic> Law (an error for John Law, the financial genius behind the French "Mississippi Scheme" ?), a sheet of maps of individual West Indies islands and a pair of charts, first published by William Hack, relating to the abortive Scottish Settlement at Darien - the so-called Darien Scheme.


Shirley, Maps in the Atlases in the British Library, T.SEN-2a; Phillips, Atlases in the Library of Congress, 563; Sabin 79124; National Maritime Museum, 3:434.

Stock Code: 228432

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