The beginning of the nineteenth century saw a period of rapid market growth and innovation in the map publishing world. Increased literacy and public interest in new frontiers and colonies overwhelmed the market because it was oriented toward the small, affluent market of the previous century. With the intent to fill this void, The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK) was founded in 1828 in London, by Lord Brougham and a group of men dedicated to the education of the aspiring working class and the Utilitarian ideal of 'Knowledge is Power.' The society produced an array of education materials, but the series of maps was one of their most successful ventures. A number of engravers and printers were used to produce the maps, which eventually exceed 200 sheets, and continued to be published after the Society as a whole ceased to function.
This handsome set of steel engraved maps covers all of the British Isles, consisting of 5 maps of England & Wales, 3 of Scotland, and 2 of Ireland. Each is densely filled with physical and political detail. The full titles include:
A. England I, dated 1831 (12.9 x 14.6").
B. England II, dated 1831 (14.4 x 12.4").
C. England III, dated 1830 (13.9 x 10.8").
D. England IV, dated 1830 (14.9 x 10.3").
E. England V, dated 1830 (14.8 x 10.3").
F. Scotland I, dated 1834 (15.3 x 10.9").
G. Scotland II, dated 1834 (16.0 x 13.2").
H. Scotland III Orkneys, Shetlands and Hebrides, dated 1834 (12.8 x 14.9").
I. Ireland, (18.4 x 12.5").
J. Ireland, North Sheet, (18.6 x 12.9").
Original outline color. Condition ranges from good to near fine with some light scattered foxing.