18 Henry Overton / (Jan Jansson) 1685


John Overton (1640-1713) and his son, Henry, produced a number of atlases and maps from 1665 to c.1755. They never possessed a complete set of county map plates and made up their atlases in the early Dutch tradition by using the prints of other publishers, notably the maps of Blaeu and Jansson. Only when these were not available did they arrange for a plate of their own to be produced.

Overton’s Atlas I (c.1670) included Blaeu’s Devoniae and Atlas II (c.1675) Jansson’s Devon-Shire. Both collections were largely made up from sheets bought from Peter Stent’s estate in late 1665 after he died in the plague. Probably because there were too few copies of some counties, John Overton had new plates of five counties engraved between 1666 and 1685: Berkshire, Somerset and Sussex were all copied from Speed while Devon and Wiltshire were from Jansson. Devon was a very close copy of Jansson 1652 edition (11.3) complete with coats of arms, including Lunday (sic), and even to the extent of reproducing the Jansson imprint. The Overton copy may be identified by the absence of the hyphen in the title ‘DEVON-SHIRE’ which appears in the Jansson original. The other obvious changes are the misspelling HEYTON for HEYTOR, TORRTNGTON for TORRINGTON and Part of Dersetshire (sic) added in Dorset.

In 1707 John Overton sold his stock to his son, Henry, who revised only the map of Devon for the 1713 issue, replacing the Jansson imprint with his own. This version appeared in Overton VI.

The engraver is unknown but the revised imprint is believed to be the work of Sutton Nicholls. He was employed by Overton in 1711-12 and engraved at least five maps for him. He was later employed by Robert Morden engraving maps for Camden’s Britannia and one map for the New Description (22).

John Overton acquired the Speed plates from Christopher Browne before 1700 and after 1716 the Overtons produced Speed collections as well. On Overton’s death in 1751 he left the stock to his nephew, also Henry. But in 1754 W and C Dicey had purchased the Overton plates and although they inserted their own imprint on the Speed map (6.10) there was no further change to the Overton Devon, if it was ever reprinted.


Size 380 x 490 mm.                                                                                                                                 Milliaria Anglica (12 = 78 mm) and

                                                                                                                                                    Milliaria Germanica communia (3 = 78 mm).

DEVONIAE DESCRIPTIO. The DESCRIPTION of DEVON SHIRE with imprint: Amstelodami Apud Ioannem Iaßonium.


1. 1685  Overton Atlas III  
    London. John Overton.(1685).  S107, [Adm].
    Overton Atlas IV  
    London. John Overton. (1690).        S111, BL.
    Overton Atlas V  
    London. John Overton. (1700).  S121, CB.
2. 1713 Roads added. Imprint changed to: Printed and Sold by Henry Overton at the white Horse without Newgate LONDON: 1713. (Remains of old imprint still visible.)  
    England Fully Described (title on Whitaker atlas) - Overton Atlas VI  
    London. Henry Overton. 1713 (post-1716). H142, BL, RGS, W.
    Atlas with no title page  
    London. Henry Overton. (1716). CB.