75 Robert Rowe / Joseph Allen 1811


Joseph Allen published a pack of playing cards which are described by Beresiner.1 The original maps were printed as a pack of 43 cards (forty county maps, a map each of North and South Wales and England & Wales). Each card bears the imprint Pub by J ALLEN, 3 Hampden Str. Sommers Town. 1811. While most of the cards have a second imprint Also by R. ROWE, No 19 Bedford Str. Bedford Row London the card of England and Wales has statistical information in a second small panel and a slightly different Allen imprint (see below). The rules booklet has the imprint A Geographical Game - Allen’s English Atlas ... being a set of county maps on cards  published ... directs June 4th 1811.

The Devon card in a second set of these cards recently found2 has the amended Allen imprint: by J ALLEN, 3 Hampden Str. Sommers Town. In addition, at the bottom of the map, in place of Robert Rowe’s imprint there are two lines with information from the 1811 census. The two maps are practically identical, eg Holoworthy (sic) has not been corrected, there are no new roads and neighbouring counties have not been named, but mileages have been added on some roads. The implication is that if Allen originally planned to market these cards together with Rowe, who possibly engraved them, the partnership broke up early and Allen began to delete the Rowe imprint. Allen is known to have cooperated with Rowe on other projects: he engraved a map of London for Rowe in 1811. Rowe had already prepared one set of playing cards for Fairburn (compare card at 61) and went on to produce a folio county atlas, The English Atlas, which appeared in 1816 (81).

Size 85 x 60 mm.                                                                                                                                                Scale of Miles (10 = 8 mm).

DEVONSHIRE. Imprint: Pub. by J. ALLEN, 3 Hampden Str. Sommers Town. 1811. just below the county title. Second imprint: Also by R. ROWE, No. 19 Bedford Str. Bedford Row, London. embedded in the lower border.

1. 1811  A Geographical Game - Allen’s English Atlas  
    London. J Allen & R Rowe. 1811. CB3 .
2. 1811 First imprint reduced: by J ALLEN, 3 Hampden Str. Sommers Town (Ca). Panel of topographical information in lower border replaces lower imprint. Mileages from London added.  
    Geographical Game - Allen’s English Atlas  
    London. J Allen. (1811). CB.
3. 1823 Allen’s imprint is deleted, neighbouring counties named. (DevA), (DEI).
    The New English Atlas  
    London. J Thomson. 1823.   B.
    Pocket Tourist and English Atlas  
    London. O Hodgson. (1827). CCCLXXI, BL, B.


[1] Yasha Beresiner; in The Map Collector; Issue 30; March 1985; pp 40-41.

[2] Kit Batten; Second Edition of Allen Cards; in IMCoS JOURNAL; Issue 58; Autumn 1994.

[3] Illustration courtesy of Clive Burden and Philip Burden.