31 Thomas Hutchinson / John & Thomas Osborne 1748


John and Thomas Osborne published a number of cartographic works. Thomas Osborne produced an Ancient Geography in 1741, based on Hondius; they also cooperated in the production of Salmon’s Modern History 1744-6; and in 1748 they produced an attractive set of county maps, Geographia Magnae Britanniae.

It is probable that Thomas Hutchinson engraved the map of Devon for Geographia Magnae Britanniae as his name appears on the map of Gloucestershire, which is in a similar style, and also on the map of England and Wales. The maps were based on those in Robert Morden’s Britannia (21): most major roads are shown although few towns are included. Two editions were issued, both dated 1748, but with a change to the list of publishers: Samuel Birt, one of the original publishers, died in 1755 and his name was omitted from the second edition. There were no changes to the map plates for this second issue, even some basic errors were left unchanged (eg Ottery, or Autre as Saxton spelt it is misspelt Aubry).

The publishers also owned the copyright to Daniel Defoe’s A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain. Subsequently the atlas was sometimes advertised as a suitable companion and proper supplement to the Defoe book and also contained adverts for the Defoe book in the preliminary pages.1

One of the publishers was Andrew Millar (spelt Miller in the second edition). He announced plans for a Scottish atlas in 1745 together with Mary Cooper as bookseller. This does not seem to have been very successful and only a map of Lothian has been found. However, at the same time as the Geographia Magnae Britanniae appeared, he and the same co-publishers brought out a companion volume Geographia Scotiae. All but five of the maps for the Scottish atlas were signed by Kitchin.2 Cambridge University Library has a copy of both bound together.

Size 145 x 170 mm.  Miles (15 = 34 mm).

A Correct MAP of DEVON SHIRE. Plate number - 9 - (EaOS).

1. 1748 Geographia Magnae Britanniae  
    (London). S Birt, T Osborne, D Browne, I Hodges, I Osborne, A Millar and I Robinson. 1748.  
      CXC, H205, W, RGS, C, BCL.
    Geographia Magnae Britanniae  
    (London). T Osborne, D Browne, J Hodges, A Miller, J Robinson, W Johnston, P Davey and B Law. 1748 (1756).  
     CLXXXIX, H206, BL, C. 


[1] Donald Hodson; County Atlases of the British Isles Vol. II; Tewin Press; 1989; p.47.

[2] Donald Hodson; ibid; Appendix I.1