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Description

The Most Complete Set of Tallis's London Views That We Can Find Having Come to the Market.

An impressive run of parts 1 through 77 (of 88) of John Tallis's fantastic project to provide a view of every major street in London during the late 1830s.

Tallis's project was essentially unparalleled in urban mapmaking and invites comparison to an early Google Street View. His views of London form an invaluable historical and social record, providing an immensely detailed snapshot of a city in flux. This sense of change is hinted at by its notation of demolitions ("two houses being pulled down", pt. 74), as well as its incorporation of planned but yet to be completed sites such as Trafalgar Square. It also captures the everyday life and commerce of London, providing a view of the city from the perspective of the average person in the street and conjuring an evocative sense of the sights, sounds, and smells that would have been encountered through its description of each building and storefront.

The wonderfully illustrated advertisements and historical notes add to this, giving a fuller understanding of each area as well as offering extra advice about local businesses, a typical tip being, for example, that Morton's restaurant at 104 Bishopsgate Street was the "cheapest house in London for turtle and venison".

The elevated street views themselves are beautifully engraved, depicting the minute detail of shop fronts and the delicate twists and turns of adjoining streets and alleys. 

Rarity

Because of the mode of publication (with each part individually sold in separate wrappers) even semi-long runs of parts are very rare on the market. The next-largest group of views that we can find having traded hands is a set of parts 1-40 which sold in the Edward Tufte Library sale at Christie's in 2010 for $5,000.

Condition Description
Oblong 8vo. Parts 1-77 (of 88), issued separately. Each part consists of an engraved elevated street view, overhead map and vignette of a notable site, a numbered list giving details of the trade and occupants of each building and six pages of commentary and ads (including the rear cover.) Each part in original colored-paper lettered wrappers. The wrappers firm and bright throughout, with little wear to the extremities, minor creasing to a few covers, a small tear to the edge of pts. 69 and 70, a small tear to the cover of pt. 20 and a few small tears to the edge of pt. 35. The contents with a little foxing, though overall bright and clean. Altogether Very Good to Very Good +. Contained with a later brown cloth case with the armorial bookplate of Major-General Sir Harold A. Wernher to the inner flap.
John Tallis Biography

John Tallis (1817-1876) was a British map publisher. Born in the Midlands, Tallis came to London in the 1840s. Tallis began his London career with a series of remarkable London street views. He began a partnership with a Frederick Tallis, possibly his brother, but their collaboration ended in 1849. For the Great Exhibition of 1851, Tallis published the Illustrated World Atlas, one of the last series of decorative world maps ever produced. The maps were engraved by John Rapkin, a skilled artisan. The maps were later reissued by the London Printing & Publishing Company, who left the Tallis imprint intact, thus ensuring his enduring fame. In 1858, he began publication of the popular Illustrated News of the World and National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Personages, selling it in 1861 (it ceased publication in 1863).