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A Nice Set of Tallis's London Views That We Can Find Having Come to the Market.

An impressive run of 47 parts (of 88) of John Tallis's fantastic project to provide a view of every major street in London during the late 1830s.

This set includes views 1-47. View 8 (Holborn, Division II) is later state than in the set we previously sold, with the view of Furnivall's Inn substantially updated.

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. 


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 largest set to come to market in recent years of which we know of was a set of 77, which we offered for sale in February 2020.

Condition Description
Oblong quarto. Contemporary ½ calf over marbled boards (covers separated from book block and one another, backstrip wanting). Contents Very Good to Very Good +.
Rumsey 14002
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).