66 John Luffman 1803


London engraver, publisher and professional goldsmith, John Luffman (fl.1776-1820) worked from various premises: 98 Newgate St 1776, 85 London Wall 1780, Finsbury Square 1789, Inner Sweeting Alley, Royal Exchange 1799, Little Bell Alley, Coleman St 1800, and finally 377 Strand from 1807. He was an author in his own right and an accomplished geographer.

His first works were engravings of the road maps in Taylor and Skinner’s Survey and Maps of the Roads of North Britain, 1776, followed by some city plans and a number of county maps, including Rutland and Essex. When the City of London was contemplating improvements to the area around Royal Exchange and Finsbury Square he executed a plan Laid down from the City Plan by J Luffman, Geogr.1802. His premises at 28, Little Bell Alley were just off Coleman Street which is shown just left of the new road.

In 1803, Luffman engraved, printed and published the work for which he is best known, A New Pocket Atlas. The unusual circular maps with detailed descriptive text below are very popular. Each map was engraved with a text of topographical information below the map. In Devon, we are told, kerseys, serges, druggets, shalloons, narrow cloths, and bone lace are manufactured. This is an indication of the importance of the cloth industry in Devon. By the thirteenth century Devon was exporting wool from its six own native breeds of sheep and by 1500 was producing approximately ten per cent of Britain’s cloth. In 1730, Tiverton alone had 56 tucking mills and Exeter was the third or fourth most important city based on the wealth of its cloth trade. Although the cloth industry as a whole continued into the nineteenth century, Exeter’s share declined and by 1800 was minimal; beaten by competition from Lancashire, Yorkshire and Ireland.1

Chubb (CCCXX) suggests that An Atlas of the Counties of England was published in 1805 based on the evidence of the map of Essex (195 x 250 mm) which had the imprint Published June 1. 1805 by J Luffman, Little Bull Alley, Coleman St. London. Plate No. 2. This suggests an atlas or a work on Essex with two or more plates which is now lost.


Size 60 mm in diameter.                                                                                                                                                     Scale of 25 Miles.

DEVONSHIRE. Imprint: Sold by J. Luffman 28, Little Bell Alley, Coleman Street, London. Plate number - 9 - 8 mm above top border (CeOS - sometimes only just visible).


1. 1803  A New Pocket Atlas and Geography of England and Wales  
    London. J Luffman. 1803. CCCVIII, BL, (DevA).
2. 1803 Plate number 9 immediately above top border.  
    A New Pocket Atlas and Geography of England and Wales  
    London. J Luffman. 1803. CCCIX, RGS.
    A New Pocket Atlas and Geography of England and Wales                                                   
    London. Lackington, Allen & Co. 1806.          BL, AA.
3. 1806 Without plate number.  
    A New Pocket Atlas and Geography of England and Wales   
    London.Lackington, Allen & Co. 1806.      B, W.

[1] R R Sellman; Aspects of Devon History; Devon Books; (1962) 1985.