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Description

A fine example of Henry Overton's scarce plan of London, a highly detailed overview of the development of the city during the early to mid 18th-century.

This fascinating map embraces what was then the entire urban area of London and Westminster. It delineates and names all of the streets and shows all built-up areas, as well as the boundaries of the various wards, distinguished by lines of original color. Major buildings and properties are carefully labelled. It shows that while the commercial heart of the city remained within the 'Golden Square Mile' of the old City, the direction of the recent growth of London had moved westwards. While Westminster had traditionally been an urban area distinct from the city downriver, new growth had by this time filled in the areas in between, including Charing Cross near the river front, and northwards, including Mayfair (centered around Grovenor Square), Soho and further northwards in Marylebone.

On the far left hand side, the map shows part of Hyde Park, then on the outskirts of town. While the park had since the time of Henry VIII been reserved as a green space, it was only shortly prior to this map being made that it was coherently landscaped as a park. This project was undertaken by Charles Bridgeman for Queen Caroline; under the supervision of Charles Withers, the Surveyor-General of Woods and Forests. It was completed in 1733 at a cost to the Crown of £20,000.

The arms of the city of London occupy the lower-right corner and in the lower left is a table showing "the Rates of Hackney Coaches in London". This important transport medium had been under official fare price regulation since 1654, with all cabbies requiring licenses since 1662.

This important map, a key source documenting the development of London, was first issued in 1720, and went through several continually updated editions. All editions of the map are scarce on the market, for the survival rate of such large separately-issued maps is quite low.

Condition Description
Repaired fold split at centerfold and some minor soiling.
Reference
Howgego, 16.