26 Richard William Seale 1732


About 1732, Henry Overton together with John Hoole, published a set of nine counties including a map of Devon copied directly from that of Herman Moll (25). The nine maps were engraved by Richard William Seale on two copper-plates and the prints were joined side by side to produce a large single sheet1.

The maps were intended to be sold as a wall screen and not as individual counties. The full title (with its descriptive note With the Roads & Distances of Places all done from the Newest Surveys, Adorned with the ARMS of all the Corporations and Borrough Towns in each COUNTY) is engraved across the full width of the double sheet and Seale’s signature appears outside the bottom border. The whole sheet is 578 x 946 mm.

The maps are arranged on the sheet in the same order as the title, reading from top left to bottom right arranged in three rows of three. Devon was therefore in two halves. The Devon map can be clearly differentiated from Moll’s. Seale prefers the "long s"; there are occasional spelling differences eg Crokehorn and Straton (Moll) appear now as Crookhorn and Stratton; Moll has upside-down directions to roads in Cornwall and each map has coats of arms outside the borders instead of Moll’s engravings. Both maps have a key denoting some of the important mines.

Overton and Hoole are known to have been in partnership from about 1724 to 1734; the earliest known date for Seale is 1732. No other sets of counties in the same series is known. According to Hodson the maps are listed in an Overton and Hoole catalogue dated 1734 and the plates must have remained in Overton’s stock until his death in 1751. The plates then came into the hands of Robert Sayer and the sheet appeared in catalogues issued by Sayer in 1766, by Sayer and John Bennett in 1775 and by Sayer’s successors, Robert Laurie and James Whittle in 1795. After this the map is no longer recorded.

The British Library has two examples. One is a complete wall sheet and the other has the maps cut, joined and bound into book form with the general title discarded.

Richard Seale produced one county map for The Large English Atlas; a map of Middlesex which is striking for the large number of shields which surround it. He also produced maps for the Universal Magazine and maps for Rapin’s History of England.

Size 185 x 315 mm.    English Miles (20 = 52 mm).

Map area 185 x 255 mm.   

DEVON SHIRE. Outside frame are two rows of five coats of arms, left and right of map.2

 1.  1732    Nine New & Accurate Maps Of The Southern Counties Of England   
    Viz; Cornwal, Devon, Somerset, Wilts, Dorset, Hants, Surrey, Sussex & Wight-Isle  
    a) Wall sheet: Printed and Sold by Henry Overton & I: Hoole at ye White Horse Without Newgate LONDON.  
    London. H Overton & J Hoole. (1732). BL.
    b) As book containing county maps as above. All imprints cut from sheet. BL, CB.


[1] Donald Hodson; County Atlases of the British Isles Vol. I; Tewin Press; 1989; p.182-3.

[2] Illustration courtesy of the British Library.