London, England: Robert Sayer, 1788. Joseph Ellis William Palmer. Second Edition. Leather-bound. Short quarto hardcover measuring 9 3/8 in. tall by 7 1/4 in. wide. Rebound in brown full calf, gilt ruling and flourishes to spine, with gilt title over burgundy leather label. Superficial scratches to leather boards. New decorated pastedowns front and rear. The astonishingly beautiful title page and dedication page copperplate etchings, are sharp and complex, most likely executed by Charles Grignion The Elder (1721-1810) These engravings feature books and sunbeams, a unicorn and a crest, tools and artworks, staffs and soldier helmets below all of which reads: "Published as the Act directs, 1 Feb. 1776."
The title page dates the direction (to publish) as February 1, 1788. Lightly toned prelims, lightly foxed interior, not paginated, but with prelims followed by 37 hand-colored engraved maps, collated as present (of Ireland, of four different provinces, and of 32 different counties). Engraved illustrations and mile-scales inside each map border--78 copperplate engravings all in. Opposite each is a page of descriptive geography, demography, etc.
Gift inscription to top of "Index" page reading "Thomas Wright Pickstock, from his Father, 16th April 1839. Thomas Pickstock (1792-1864)
The author Bernard Scale (1738-1826) was a pupil of and brother-in-law to the great mapmaker John Rocque (1705-1762) with whom he compiled a great surveyed map of Dublin. Scale then joined William Richards in partnership in 1763 and devoted his remaining productive career to mapmaking and estate surveys primarily (Maquire, Two Huguenot Mapmakers in Ireland). Laid in note identifies the gilt flourishes to spine as binder marks of Bayntun, with their tell-tale urn-and-bird device (georgebayntun dot com). The chief engraver Joseph Ellis was from Clerkenwell in London and apprenticed to Richard William Seale in 1749 and became important to mapmaking and map collectors for his The New English Atlas, first published in 1765 (antiquemaps dot com). William Palmer (1735-1812) was an engraver and gun engraver, mapmaker and also globemaker, partnering later with his son John and together engraving charts for the Cook voyages and for William Faden, Robert Sayer, Alexander Dalrymple, Laurie and Whittle and Robert Wilkinson, among others (geographicus dot com). FINE. Item #85226
All in, a superb example of an important title, scarce in the 1788 edition, with hand-colored country, province and county maps and sharp, distinct copperplate engravings, quite fine.