Letterpress, Typography


It is the way of things that many old books are disassembled in order sell off individual engravings. These were taken from such a book “Britannia: Or A Chorographical Description of Great Britain and Ireland, Together With Adjacent Islands” by William Camden from 1722.

These are the first few pages of dedication, of almost no value to the bookseller/framer, but have so much charm to us almost 300 years later; they wear the traces of their construction in their slow decay and offer us a small window to peer through to consider the things that have happened since its publication…

It is worth noting here that the printer was one Mary Matthews (one of a number of female printers in London at this time) who was eventually hanged for printing seditious political pamphlets.

Hard to imagine that these few pages (approximately 390 x 250 mm) have survived 292 years.

The full book can be viewed online here – it is really fascinating, but I wonder how may pages were discarded just for the maps? Also, if you like looking at old books, take a look here and here.

Again, many thanks to Nick for loaning these to me and for allowing them to be posted here.

One thought on “Britannia

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