The rare second edition of the first large-scale survey of Dorset
By TAYLOR, Isaac , 1795

The County of Dorset, Surveyed and Engraved by Isaac Taylor. The Second Edition revised and corrected.

  • Author: TAYLOR, Isaac
  • Publication place: [London],
  • Publisher: William Faden, Charing Cross Road,
  • Publication date: June, 1st, 1795.
  • Physical description: Large-scale engraved map on six sheets, original hand-colour in outline.
  • Dimensions: 1170 by 1600mm. (46 by 63 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14355


Isaac Taylor was born in Worcester in 1730 and earned an early reputation as a surveyor of both county maps and city plans. His style was easily recognisable and gave particular emphasis to the hills on his county maps; Herefordshire 1754, Hampshire 1759, Dorset 1765, Worcestershire 1772, and Gloucestershire 1777. It is surprising that Taylor, like Rocque and Jefferys, was not successful in gaining the approval of the Society of Arts who appeared to favour the amateur surveyors rather than the professional mapmakers, Nearly all the awards went to applicants who produced just one or two maps rather than men like Taylor and Jefferys who between them published fifteen fine large-scale map, accurately surveyed and well engraved and in some instances more competent than most of those that were recognised by the Society.

On the first edition of 1765, the title and dedication cartouches took up most of the bottom left-hand sheet, with the bottom right-hand corner containing an extensive key. Both have been removed by William Faden for this second edition, with a more sober title, and a rationalisation of the key, together with the removal of the majority of the ships to the sea. Although the numerous engraved notes remain, which refer to the stranding of many vessels and a long engraved note, just off Weymouth, refers to the "Chesil Bank, where The Stones at Portland are about the size of an Egg, opposite Fleet and Langston they are much smaller; at Beckingston they are scarcely bigger than Pease, and between Swyre and Barton-cliffe where the Bank ends it is entirely a fine clear Sand" The legend goes on to remark about composition of the soil - a firm clay - beneath the pebbles. A large part of the top three sheets is occupied by six topographical views within the county - Corfe Castle, Maiden Castle, The Amphitheatre at Dorchester, Lulworth Castle, the Observatory at Horton and Sherborne Castle.

Taylor's map was acknowledged as an outstanding piece of work at the time, and was the first map to be put forward for the prestigious Society of Arts Award, just ahead of Donn's Devon. Despite tremendous efforts, however, to win the coveted prize it was unsuccessful, due to the slight inaccuracy of its place names, which proved unacceptable to some of the local gentry. Even so it is a paricularly rare map, with the present copy in fantastic condition with full original colour.

Many of the errors, which cost Taylor his prize, such as place names, were amended by William Faden, on the present map, who had acquired much of Taylor's stock following his death in 1788. The most notable addition is the maps highlighting of the numerous trunk roads, together with the distance in miles marked between market towns.