104 Robert Kearsley Dawson / Joseph Netherclift 1832


Lieutenant, later Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Kearsley Dawson, RE (1798-1861) was the son of Robert Dawson, a Devonian, who had been active during the first Ordnance Survey of Devon of 1809 (74). R K Dawson entered the Royal Engineers in 1818 and worked in Scotland under Thomas Colby, Superintendant of the Ordnance Survey. Dawson prepared the boundary surveys for 277 county maps and city plans of England and Wales which were printed as a result of the Reform Bill of 1831 and related to the Boundaries Act passed in July 1832. The maps and plans were subsequently published in two volumes in 1832 in Plans of the Cities and Boroughs of England and Wales. Most volumes have maps in various states.

The whole work was produced by lithography by James and Luke Hansard in London and is an early example of the use of this process. Luke Hansard (1752-1828) took over the business of Hughes, printers to the House of Commons, in 1798. In 1806 he also took over William Cobbett’s reports of the debates of the House (see also 106). His sons continued printing for the House, especially the reports on proceedings now known as Hansard.

There are two distinct variations of the Devon map not including the individual states. One variation is signed Robt. K. Dawson and this earlier one signed R..K: Dawson. The lithograph map described below by Netherclift is believed to be the earlier version as it has Newton Bushel (later changed to Newton Abbot) and although the title is in attractive script the clumsy addition of the polling places in the second state below may have convinced Dawson to have the Joseph Netherclift’s map re-engraved by Gardner (see next entry, 105).1


Size 300 x 300 mm.                                                                                                                                                Scale of Miles (10 = 47 mm).

Devonshire in attractive script (Da). Imprint: J. Netherclift Lithog: 54 Leicester Sqr below scale bar (Ee). Script signature: R.K:Dawson Lieut.R.E. just below Explanations:


1. 1832  Parliamentary Representation. Further Return to an Address to His Majesty, dated 12 December, 1831.  
    London. House of Commons. 1832. BL (Off. Pub.).
2. 1832 Symbol, Maltese cross, for polling places added rather amateurishly immediately to left of Dawson’s signature. Polling places such as Plymouth and Exeter shown. Loose sheets probably from:  
    Plans of the Cities and Boroughs of England and Wales ...  
    London. James & Luke G Hansard & Sons. 1832.    (BL).

[1] The authors are grateful for Eugene Burden’s correspondence correcting the engraver’s name.