64 John Wilkes 1803


John Wilkes was active between 1790 and 1828 (but was not connected with the Wilkes who wrote the well-known North Briton). He moved to London from Winchester in 1784 and in 1790, together with Peter Barfort, published the Universal British Directory and a year later a plan of London. Several additional maps of the counties were published by Wilkes and he also produced a map British Colonies of North America in 1797.

His county atlas, Encyclopaedia Londinensis, was published in parts from 1801. As some parts are missing the final total of maps is not known; eg Cambridgeshire was ‘lost’ for many years. Each of the maps is dated between 1801 and 1828. Devon is dated 1803 and appeared together with maps of Cornwall and Derbyshire (dated 1802) in Volume V which was published in 1810. However, many maps are found in collections which must have been bound together post-1828 when the series was finished. J Wilkes’ name and that of Neele or J Pass, the engravers, appear on each map in the series. Wilkes was fined for piracy over the Encyclopaedia but, nevertheless, was able to protect his copyrights with Royal Patents.

The orientation is unusual for a map of this size. Although many miniature maps do not have north at the top most larger maps conform to convention. This map of Devon has north to the left of the page.

A loose copy of Devon in private hands has been reported with the plate apparently cut directly below the title omitting the publisher’s imprint but this has not been verified. However, Devon is known in two states. One loose copy of the second state below was taken from an oddly bound general atlas: The book contained only a few of the counties up to Essex ... , the rest of the maps were of countries and continents and there did not appear to be any missing or lacking. The dates of the general maps were from 1796-1804. There was no title page and no indication of exact date. It is believed that the book was bound possibly for educational purposes from what remained of the stock at the time1 .

Size 232 x 188 mm.                                                                                                                                            Scale of Miles (10 = 26 mm).

DEVONSHIRE (CeOS) with imprint: London Published as the Act directs. Feb. 14. 1803. by J. Wilkes. Signature: Neele Sculp. Strand. (EeOS).2

1. 1803   Probably available as published in parts.  (KB)3, (DEI),(NDL).
    Encyclopaedia Londinensis; or, universal dictionary of arts, sciences, and literature ...Compiled ... by John Wilkes assisted by eminent scholars. Vol. V.  
    London. The Proprietors. 1810. BL.
    Collections of maps with no title-page (c.1828)     CB, B.
2. 1840 As above with the addition of bays, eg Barnstaple and Bigbury; towns, eg Luppit and Higher Luxmore near Honiton; river names, eg Otter,Taw, Erne and Teign; DORSETSHIRE has last 3 letters added; and mileage figure added at Dulverton.  
    Loose sheets from unknown work   (DevA), (MW).

[1] The authors are grateful to Stephen Luck of Tooley Adams & Co. Ltd for providing this information.

[2] The map may also have been included in The Charities in the County of Devon Vol. I.published in London by Hansard, 1840.

[3] A copy in the author's possession was ostensibly taken from Volume IV. The title page of this volume reads; Compiled, digested, and arranged by John Wilkes, of Milland House, Iin the County of Sussex, Esquire; assisted by eminent scholars of the English, Scotch, and Irish Universities. The work was: Printed for the Proprietors by J Adlard ...: Sold at the Encyclopaedia Office ... ; by J White ... ; and Champante and Whitrow. Dated 1810.