Back in in the 1960's I was fortunate to buy my first set of atlases by Joan Blaeu. It was in fact an incomplete set of seven volumes all bound in contemporary Dutch cream calf decorated with gold. The colouring was superb and in a way unique in that if I see any Blaeu maps now I would be able to identify whether they came from this same set. I bought the atlases at a well know London auction house having set off early that morning on the train from Chester. These were the days before the hated buyer's premium arrived. In fact if you were able to buy the atlases today at auction the buyer's premium alone would probably be about the price I paid for the set. I remember struggling back to Euston station with the volumes and was so protective that I would not even let the porter help me along the platform and onto the train. The atlases were later split and brought a lot of pleasure to a lot of my customers.
I was 19 when I got hooked on antique maps. There are quite a few of the early cartographers who we know a bit about about and their life stories make interesting reading. There is one English mapmaker who stands out as someone rather special who appears to have had a most interesting life. He is JOHN OGILBY. Yes you know he was the first to map the roads of England and Wales and yes you might have read that he had an interest in dancing. If you want to know more about the man who created that 17th century map hanging on your wall then you must read this book published in 2016 - The Nine Lives of John Ogilby by Alan Ereira. In this book the author brings a fascinating hidden history to light, and reveals that Ogilby's celebrated Britannia is far more than a harmless road atlas: it is, rather, filled with secrets designed to serve Charles II's sinister purpose.
You can order this book now and get it for less than the cover price of 25 pounds.
The Nine Lives of John Ogilby by Alan Ereira
When I started collecting and selling maps back in the 1960's there were very few reference books on antique maps. The first book I remember buying was Maps and Mapmakers by R. V. Tooley. Full of wonderful information but over the years there were periods when it was out of print. The Antique Collectors Club used to produce a large range of books on all kinds of antiques and in 1983 - BRITISH COUNTY MAPS by YASHA BERISINER was published. To the best of my knowledge there has not been another book like it published. A most useful and informative work and essential for the avid county map collector. I think there was just the one edition. If you can get hold of a copy at a reasonable price my advice would be - Buy it. There is a link below that will search Amazon for copies on sale.
My well used copy pictured on the right still has its distinctive red cover illustrating Cambridgeshire by John Speed. The county I was born in.
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I have been buying and selling antique maps since the early 1960's during which time I had a gallery in Watergate Street, Chester for 30 years. I am now able to offer through my websites a personal service to map and print collectors.