Maker: Laurie and Whittle
Antique hand colored map of England and Wales by Laurie and Whittle, 1794. As anyone who has read a Jane Austen novel should remember, travel in the Regency period was often quite trying, between the jarring carriages, jolting horses, and uneven roads. We must recall that at this time the roads were often in poor shape: deep ruts, icy in winter, poor drainage during a rainstorm, dry and cracked in the summer heat, etc. Throughout the 1700s many roads were put in trust and tolls charged for the maintenance. In 1784, the British postal system was reformed by John Palmer, a theatre owner in Bath, who had found a way to transport actors at high speeds and applied it to the mail. With the introduction of mail coaches, security increased dramatically over that of employing post boys, who often conspired with robbers to arrange thefts. By 1811, more than two hundred mail coaches ran regular deliveries on “post roads.” The coaches were painted black with red wheels; the doors and bottom panels were maroon and sported the Royal Coat of Arms. Light and fast, they eventually carried four passengers inside and three outside – none of which were allowed anywhere near the Mail Guard who stood at the back above the coach, facing forward. Thus, this map shows not only the mail routes, but also the general highways throughout the country along which anyone would travel. This map is detailed and thorough, listing cities and towns and depicting some topography. It also features two illustrations: one of a post carriage, and the other likely showing post boys. Very good antique condition with a slightly deep fold that will almost certainly flatten nicely when framed. Measures approx. 20.25 x 20.25 inches to the neatline.
Item Number: EUR2925