84 Edward Langley / William Belch 1817


Edward Langley (fl.1800-35) was a well-established bookseller and publisher as well as an engraver with premises at 173 High Street, Borough. He is known for his maps of London, Bedford and of Essex. Early in his career he formed a partnership with William Belch (fl.1802-20) and until 1820 they published together including the New County Atlas.

The 52 maps in this (4to) atlas are variously dated between 1816 and 1818 and have attractive vignettes of town views or buildings relating to the appropriate county. It is interesting that vignettes as part of the map are commonly associated with the Victorian age. However, vignettes were popular only over a period of twenty years, namely from 1816 (Dix and Darton’s view of Dartmouth Castle) to 1836 (Schmollinger’s views of Tavistock Abbey and Exeter County Sessions) and few, if any, Victorian maps included such views. During this period some nine maps had vignettes. The most popular view was Exeter Cathedral as illustrated in this map. Other vignettes only appear once, those mentioned above, Babicombe Bay (Babbacombe near Torquay by Walker/Fisher) and Exeter Guildhall (Dower/Moule). This does not include the Crabb cards which had views added around the sides of the original map by Reuben Ramble (see illustration 85).

There was possibly an earlier version of the original map as a now broken and lost atlas included other counties without the Mail and Turnpike roads symbols, or where these had been added by hand. A Devon copy has not been seen.

The Langley and Belch partnership ended in 1820 with Langley publishing under his own imprint and Belch publishing on his own from 1 Staverton Row, Newington Butts. After the break-up of the partnership another edition of the atlas was issued by Joseph Phelps with amended imprint. A dissected map of Berkshire is known with Joseph Phelps’ imprint on the cover of the slip case. A later version of Sussex with imprints removed and a new separate panel added has also been reported.

Early states were issued singly, folding into a slipcased. Rather strangely the maps were used by William Cobbett in 1832 in an early edition of his Geographical Dictionary. A copy has been reported which included Langley and Belch maps trimmed at the edges. These were replaced in the same year by a new map (106).

Size 170 x 257 mm.                                                                                                                                                             Scale (10 = 22 mm).

LANGLEY’S new MAP of DEVONSHIRE. Vignette of Exeter Cathedral. Imprint: Printed and Published by Langley & Belch, No 173, High Street, Borough, London, August 12th. 1817. (CeOS). 

1. 1817  Langley’s New County Atlas of England and Wales (DevA), (NDL), (DEI).
    London. Langley & Belch. (1818). CCCLIX, BL, W, B, C.
    Langley’s New County Atlas of England and Wales  
    London. Joseph Phelps. (1820).  B.
    A Geographical Dictionary ... by William Cobbett  
    London. William Cobbett. 1832.  [P].
2. 1820 New imprint: Printed & Published by J Phelps, No 27, Paternoster Row, London. 1820. (CeOS).  
    Langley’s New County Atlas of England and Wales  
    London. Joseph Phelps. (1820). CCCLX, CB.