The London Map Trade to 1640

englandAlthough printing was introduced into England by William Caxton in the 1470s, the emergence from that point of a specialized trade in printed maps and atlases was a slow and halting process. Map publishing required skills in making and printing blocks or plates quite separate from those involved in the printing of books by letterpress: the printing of books and the printing of maps did not automatically grow in tandem. Maps were far less familiar objects than books at this stage. The incipient trade in their manufacture and sale has received significantly less attention than other facets of early English publishing, and such established facts as there are may be told relatively simply. There is a natural emphasis on London because, with the merest handful of exceptions, early map publishing in the British Isles was wholly confined to that city …

This essay from the University of Chicago Press “History of Cartography” is now available on open access on this link – The London Map Trade to 1640


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