|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Published||Sutton Nicholls sculp. [Oxford, 1701]|
|Dimensions||355 x 474 mm|
An unusual trio of maps on the same plate illustrating the lands of the bibilical New Testament, engraved by Sutton Nicholls for Wells' A Treatise of Antient and Present Geography, together with a Sett of Maps in Folio. The largest of the three maps, at top left, shows the cities and territories of Greece, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), and Cyprus, outlined in hand colour and with cities picked out in red. Below, a map of the Mediterranean does the same for Italy, North Africa, and Mesopotamia, while one on the right hand side of the plate provides a detailed illustration of the Holy Land and the region between the Levantine coast and the River Jordan. All three maps include an explanatory title cartouche, and the general title, in the top right, is surmounted by the Crest of the young William, Duke of Gloucester.
Edward Wells' A Treatise of Antient and Present Geography, together with a Sett of Maps in Folio was developed for and dedicated to William, Duke of Gloucester, who was at the time a pupil at Oxford. Wells was a teacher of mathematics and geography at Christ Church, where the young heir to the throne had begun his studies in 1700 at age 11. Wells designed his maps for instructional use in the geography courses he taught and his clear and direct cartographic presentation proved popular with the general public as well. Sadly, the young Duke of Gloucester died shortly after their completion, but the maps became something of a surprise commercial success, and the atlas received several reprintings well into the 1730s. These decorative maps provide a fascinating snapshot of British understanding of the world at the outset of the 18th century, and were prized for their geographical accuracy and the strength of their engraved images.
Edward Wells (1667-1727) was a British mathematician, theologian, and geographer, best known for his fractious and bombastic attacks on dissenters, Presbyterians, and his fellow churchman and former pupil, Browne Willis. In addition to his duties as a clergyman, Wells also taught geology, mathematics, and theology at Christ Church, Oxford. In addition to producing a Greek critical edition of the New Testament, he published a collection of maps of the ancient world, dedicated to one of his students, the young Duke of Gloucester.
Sutton Nicholls (1668-1729) was a British engraver, printseller, draughtsman and globemaker. Although best known for his panoramic views of the cities of London and Westminster, Nicholls also produced prospects of gentlemen's seats, such as this example. A majority of his work was commissioned by publishers.
Condition: Central vertical fold, as issued. Repaired tears to top and bottom of central fold.