CARY, John (1755-1835). Cary’s New Map of England and Wales, with Part of Scotland. [London]: G. & J. Cary, 1822.
4to., (12 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches). 2-page publisher’s Advertisement, engraved title page, Dedication page, and “Explanations” page. Double-page engraved “General Map” giving Greenwich as the meridian, with original hand-color in full, 77 engraved numbered (1-81) maps with original hand-color in outline (occasional spotting). Brown cloth library binding, the smooth spine lettered in gilt (extremities bumped, one or two pale stains).
Second edition, first published in 1794. The general map of England and Wales is “is the first map on the meridian of Greenwich instead of London (St. Paul’s Cathedral) which had been used on English maps from its introduction by John Seller in 1676” (Wardington sale catalogue). There are in fact four meridians that pass through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich: the first was Flamsteed’s, established in 1675 and named for the celebrated Astronomer Royal; the second was established by Edmund Halley in 1725; the third after James Bradley; and the fourth in 1851 by Sir George Airy. This last was designated the Prime Meridian at an international conference in Washington in 1884, even though France continued to use their own meridian in creating maps for several decades to come.
“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).