38 Emanuel Bowen / Benjamin Martin 1755


Emanuel Bowen (fl.1714-67), a Welshman, was the son of Owen Bowen of Carmarthenshire. He was apprenticed to another Welshman, the mapmaker Charles Price, in 1709. Price had served his own apprenticeship with John Seller and at the date of Bowen’s indenture was in partnership with Senex, both of them important mapmakers. Athough still an apprentice until 1716, signed work by Bowen is known dated as early as 1714.1 He produced a great number of important maps (see his road maps for Britannia Depicta 24 or his larger maps for The Large English Atlas 37) and was geographer to both George II and Louis XV of France. He was still at work over fifty years later and his influence even then continued on in the careers of his son, Thomas Bowen, his son-in-law Thomas Kitchin and other of his apprentices, most notably Thomas Jefferys, his successor as Geographer to the King. Sadly neither Bowens were fortunate or successful. When Emanuel died he was almost blind and Thomas, who carried on the business, died in a Clerkenwell workhouse in 1790.

Benjamin Martin (1704-82), mathematician, instrument maker and compiler began life as a ploughboy in Surrey. He worked as a teacher in Guildford and spent his spare time studying. By 1737 he was a boarding school owner at Chichester and publisher of his Bibliotheca Technologica. He moved to London in 1740 and as inventor and maker of optical instruments opened a shop in Fleet Street. In 1782 he was made bankrupt and committed suicide.

In 1754 he announced his plans for a complete library of the arts and sciences; in January 1755 his new magazine came onto the market, issued monthly. From the beginning the General Magazine of Arts and Sciences  contained county maps, many engraved by Emanuel Bowen. The magazine was unusual in that it was supposed to be collected, then separated into six individual volumes2:

     Volume I                  -      The Young Gentleman’s and Lady’s Philosophy

     Volume II                 -      The Natural History of England

     Volume III                -      A New and Comprehensive System of Philology

     Volume IV                -      A New and Comprehensive System of Mathematical Institutions

     Volume V                 -      Bibliographica Philosophica

     Volume VI                -      Miscellaneous Correspondence

Very few of the original bindings were kept and many volumes found have the final title of the complete work. In 1759, the first part of the atlas being complete (14 county maps 3 ), a title page was printed for those subscribers wishing to bind the collected papers together. Volume Two with a further 27 county maps was completed in 1763. Many subscribers got impatient and seem to have had their accumulated issues bound at different stages of completion: the items held by Adrian Almond and Kit Batten probably belong to this group. The whole work was copied by Pieter Meijer (39).

Size 175 x 195 mm.    British Statute Miles (15 = 28 mm).

DEVONSHIRE Divided into its HUNDREDS, containing the City, Burough & Market Towns, with the Roads & Distances. By Eman: Bowen Geogr. to His Majesty. No imprint.4                                                                                                                     

1. 1755 The General Magazine Of Arts and Sciences                                                                 (DevA), (NDL).
  London. B Martin. 1755. H230, BL, AA5 , KB6.
  The Natural History of England Volume 1  
  London. W Owen. 1759. CCXV, H230, B, W, RGS, C.

[1] Laurence Worms; Some British Mapmakers; Ash Rare Books Catalogue & Price List; 1992.

[2] Care must be taken with the words part and volume. The magazine was a parts issue of 6 half sheets per month. Each year´s sheets was considered to be a volume. At the beginning of each year a sheet was included for the Natural History, eg for 1756 – Part II. The Natural History of England. Continued from Vol. I.

[3] Devon, bound opposite p.22, is rather crude and has the hundreds coded as letters explained in a key; post stages and distances between towns are shown; directions in Cornwall copy Herman Moll (ie upside-down).

[4] Other counties (e.g. Somerset) have an imprint: Design´d & Engraved for the General Magazine of Arts and Sciences; for W. Owen at Temple Bar. (CeOS).

[5] Early copy with a title page for the complete work (dated 1756) and a Vol. I title page dated 1755. The contents: two title pages; two page dedication to the Prince of Wales; eight pages explaining the Plan and Design; The Young Gentleman and Lady's Philosophy (104 pages); The Natural History with 104 pages of text and five maps – Cornwall (published July 1755), Devon (August 1755), Dorset (September 1755), Somerset (October 1755) and Wiltshire (December 1755) - together with additional topographical engravings and a Plan of the City of Bath; the Philological Sciences (104 pages). Thanks to Adrian Almond for this information.

[6] Two interim volumes: no initial title page and first 5 counties being all Natural History pages published in 1755; and no initial title page and all counties to Middlesex, being all pages issued to end of 1757.