SUMMER FAIR HIGHLIGHT — Adrian Beckham Chiltern Books

ADRIAN BECKHAM will be exhibiting at the Summer Fair on June 4th, he will have the following for sale on his stand:


BANKES, Thomas.:


A New And Authentic System Of Universal Geography, Antient And Modern: All the late important discoveries made by the English…


London: Printed for C. Cooke, No.17, Pater-Noster-Row, and sold by the booksellers… no date – (c. 1788-89).


“One of the most imposing books is Thomas Bankes, Edward Warren Blake, and Alexander Cook’s A New Royal Authentic and Complete System of Universal Geography (hereafter Thomas Bankes’s).  A massive folio volume of 990 double-columned pages, this was a popular work, running to six editions in the ten years from 1787 to 1797. This is the First edition, well bound in brown half calf, complete with all engravings and maps. Folio.  pp.900/[6pp.] . A very good half calf binding: Brown leather spine and corners over brown linen covered boards. Spine with 6 raised bands and brown leather title label: “Bankes’ Geography“. Modern brown endpapers (handmade paper). Clear English text throughout. Engraved frontis carefully strengthened around the edges. Most of the folding maps show signs of wear and creasing and have been carefully strengthened along the folds with archival standard repair tape. Light water staining to some engravings at the rear. Otherwise all text and engravings in very good condition, with just the odd small blemish, missing corner, or edge tear. From all accounts, very rare to find a complete first edition.   


Referenced by: ESTC N42049.


An excellent paper published by the State Library, Victoria: La Trobe Journal (No. 8 October 1971) identifies this edition as a true first edition. The ‘New & Accurate Chart of the Western or Atlantic Ocean’ is signed ‘Thos. Bowen 1788’. There is, the inclusion of the abstract of Keate’s Pelew Islands in the Supplement [in later editions it is included in ‘New Discoveries’]. Bankes concludes the Supplement with some paragraphs, the details of which indicate that they were written about August 1788. Also; Cut. No. 90, the last listed in the Directions to the Binder, bears the legend ‘Published as the Act directs by C. Cooke No. 17 Paternoster Row, Oct. 31. 1788’. From this, then, it would seem that this edition was published in sections in the period between early 1787 and October 1788, with the plates being the last section issued; and the wording of the Directions to the Binder and of the note at the conclusion of the List of Subscribers supports this view.  Collation is as follows:            Frontispiece (Neptune raising Captn. Cook up to Immortality); Titlepage; Verso (blank); (1)-(2) His Majesty’s Royal Licence and Authority (for publication); (3)-(4) Preface; (5)-106 Book I, New Discoveries; (107)-314 Book II, Asia; (315)-460 Book III, Africa; (461)-576 Book ;IV, America; (577)-944 Book V, Europe; 944-947 Supplement; 947-948 Origin and Progress of the Art of Navigation; (949)-953 A General Table of Coins; (954)-959 A New Geographical Table; (960) The Superficial Contents of the Globe; (961)-980 A Guide to Geography; (981)-990 Index; + 2 pp. ;Directions to the Binder;  + 4 pp. A List of Subscribers; 90 plates (including the frontispiece) ; 10 full-page maps; 12 double-page/folding maps.  



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