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Saxton & Lea: Cornwall

Map: CORN566
Cartographer: Saxton & Lea
Title: Cornwall
Date: 1749
Published: London
Width: 19 inches / 49 cm
Height: 14 inches / 36 cm
Map ref: CORN566
Map of Cornwall originally issued by Christopher Saxton in 1576 and part of the first county atlas England and Wales issued in 1579.

This map has a long and complicated printing history. First issued by Christopher Saxton in 1576, it was the first printed map of the county and acted as a template for Cornwall maps for decades. It was also issued in the 17th century by William Webb c.1642 and by Philip Lea c.1689 and 1694. By this last date, substantial changes had been made to revise and update the plate, mostly by Lea; in fact at this point, this is state 9 of the map (in other words, the plate had been substantially altered on 9 occasions). These changes include the change of the title from Latin into English, the addition of the large inset of Launceston on the upper left, the change to the coat of arms from a dragon to a unicorn on the upper left, and the addition of a large panel of coats of arms on the lower centre right.

On the map, the revisions include the additions of the roads surveyed by John Ogilby, the addition of marks to denote market towns and borough towns and the re-drawing of the coastline around St. Ives.

After the edition of 1694, the plates were acquired by George Willdey who added his imprint and address on the lower right corner of the map in 1732. Further to that edition, the plates were again acquired and re-issued by Thomas Jefferys in 1749, who did not change the plate with the exception of excising Willdey’s imprint. Finally, the plate was issued for a last time by Cluer Dicey c1770.

By the clear signs of Willdey’s address being excised on the lower right corner, this particular example of the map is state 11 (and the last) issued by either Jefferys or Dicey. Despite its incredibly long publishing history, from 1576 to c.1770, this map is rare with the later states being the hardest to find due to the competition from the burgeoning English map trade of the 18th century. [CORN566]