The County Durham-born cartographer John Arrowsmith (1790-1873) was responsible for one of the first ‘modern’ atlases of the 19th century – The London Atlas of Universal Geography Exhibiting the Physical and Political Divisions of the various countries of the World.
Admired for its understated elegance and clarity, it was first issued in 1834 but ran to many different versions until 1858.
It is famously difficult to accurately designate 'editions' of this atlas. Although for the entire life of the atlas the Contents page remained unchanged, from the 1838 issue, Arrowsmith often customised production, replacing and adding in extra plates to the original 50. Contrary to the norm, it is sometimes the later ‘editions’ of the atlas that are the most valuable as they contain a great variety and number of plates. In the case of Australia, the atlas began with three plates with later copies offering as many as eight maps.
The copy of the Arrowsmith atlas offered by Anderson & Garland in Newcastle upon Tyne on March 22 came in a full-calf binding with gilt inscription The London Atlas 1861
Read more: ATG