55 John Cary 1789


John Cary has long been one of the most written about and admired of all the British mapmakers (see 54). To Fordham he was the founder of the modern school, the most prominent and successful exponent of his time, the cartographer who first combined care and beauty of design, with something really approximate to geographical accuracy.1 The maps in each edition of Traveller's Companion are perfect examples of his craft. They combine simplicity of design with maximum of accuracy. After the elaborate designs of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth they may even strike one as too plain (compared with Moll and Read from the early 1700s for example).

Cary’s Traveller’s Companion appeared for the first time in 1790 (small 8vo, 43 maps) although many maps, including Devon, were dated 1789. A set of maps have been found on card and many, including Devon, are the first states of the respective counties. The Companion was extremely successful and was reprinted many times. Most counties had substantial revisions and, like Devon, were completely re-engraved for the 1806 issue (69). The Devon plate was re-engraved a second time (92). Atlases in states 2 and 5 were printed in two variations, with or without maps on reverse; Devon has Dorsetshire on reverse.

Loose maps of Bedfordshire, Cheshire and Cumberland based on Cary’s map have been seen and come from an unidentified journal with text headed Outlines of British Geography.2 No copy of Devon is known.

Size 132 x 93 mm including title.                                                                                                                        Statute Miles (10 = 13 mm).

DEVONSHIRE. Signature: By J. Cary (AaOS) and Engraver (EaOS). Imprint: London Published Sepr. 1. 1789 by J. Cary Engraver No. 188 Strand. (CeOS). Devonport identified only by Dock. Town names are to be read horizontally. Ottery St Mary is missing from last line of panel.

1. 1789   One of a set of 42 maps mounted on card (gilt edging and slipcase).   MW.
2. 1790 Ottery St Mary is added to last line of panel with mileage 160.  
    Cary’s Traveller’s Companion  CCLXXIII
    London. John Cary. 1790. BL, B, W, RGS, C.
3.  1791 Minor changes including addition of Plymouth to Dock and Plymouth Sound.3    (P).
    Cary's Traveller's Companion  
    London. John Cary. 1791. AY.
4.  1791 The Honiton to Taunton(e) turnpike moved west of the River Otter. Upottery and High Luxmore erased. The Turnpike from Launceston to Hatherley added.  
    Loose copy. Imprint has been cut off.   (FB).
5. 1792 New imprint: London Published Sepr. 1. 1792 by J. Cary Engraver No. 181 Strand.Some changes, eg ck of Plymouth Dock erased and St Nicholas Island lost. The Honiton to Taunton(e) turnpike has been re-engraved. Comb Martin road upgraded.  
    Cary’s Traveller’s Companion  CCLXXIV/V
    London. John Cary. 1791.  BL, B, W, RGS, BCL.
    Cary’s Traveller’s Companion  
    London. John Cary. 1791 (1796), 1791 (1797), 1791 (1798), 1791 (1801), 1791 (1804).4 B; BL; P; P; P.



[1] Sir H G Fordham; John Cary, Engraver and Map Seller; Cambridge; 1910.

[2] Eugene Burden; County Maps of Berkshire; (1988) 1991.

[3] Alan Yates has kindly notified us of this edition. Date of map as state 1. Dating of this and the next state has been amended accordingly.

[4] Most of these copies are recorded, e.g.Carroll, 1996. Dating is according to watermarks found on endpapers. 1804 edition is unrecorded, titlepage is watermarked 804. Copy previously in author´s collection.