39 Pieter Meijer 1757


In 1754 Benjamin Martin began publishing The General Magazine of Arts and Sciences (see previous entry, 38), a work planned with six volumes but published in concurrent parts, i.e. different parts of the complete work would appear in parallel, with the various sections designed to be bound together at a later date. Pieter Meijer, an Amsterdam publisher, either obtained a licence to print this work or simply copied it, publishing his version between 1763 and 1782.

All the maps, including that of Devon, were close copies of Emanuel Bowen’s maps (38) first published in The General Magazine of Arts and Sciences and later appearing in A Natural History of England (1759). The signatures on the Devon map are those of L Schenk and J Soon (only maps in volume one have both signatures, see below). Despite the date of 1757 in the map imprint, the first publication would appear to have been in Meijer´s edition of Martin.

The Algemeene Oefenschoole van Konsten en Weetenschappen (literally General Handbook of Arts and Sciences) was a monumental work in a total of 31 volumes which appeared between 1763 and 1782 in six parts mirroring Martin´s work but not issued in quite such a disorderly manner. Each volume contained between 250 and 800 pages. Part I (3 volumes) covered philosophy and natural history (Natuurkunde en Natuurlijke Historie); Part II (3 vols) covered Aardrijkskunde or Geography; Part III (3 vols) covered literature and related subjects; Part IV (3 vols) covered mathematics including sections on pendulum clocks and artillery projections; Part V (3 vols) included contributions on Copernicus, Galileo, Huygens, Keppler and Mercator etc.; Part VI (15 volumes) was miscellaneous; and there was a one volume index.

It could be that Part II, in which the county maps are to be found (volumes 1 and 2 only), was originally intended to be a geography of the world, but as Martin limited himself to England, Meijer was forced to follow suit. Be that as it may, this geographical section was published in three volumes with Devon appearing in part one. There were nearly thirty pages of text describing the topographical and historical background to the county (pages 28-56). The map of Devon was opposite page 29 and two other attractive engravings in this volume showed the river Lid and Lidford (Gorge). Volumes two and three followed in 1770 and 1782 respectively with maps dated to 1770.

The cartouche was changed to accommodate the new, Dutch, title and the spaces after the Hundreds names were no longer filled with dotted lines. Apart from the obvious Dutch headings (Explanation, Hundreds) and Dutch names for the surrounding counties and seas the map is a faithful copy of Bowen’s original with the upside-down directions in Cornwall (copied from Moll). A second scale-bar has been added.


Size 170 x 190 mm.                                                                                                                                             Engelsche Mylen (15 = 28 mm) 

                                                                                                                                                                         and Duitsche Mylen (3 = 26 mm).

DEVONSHIRE verdeeld in zyn Honderden of Rechtsgebieden, berattende alle de Steden, Burg-en Marktvlekken, met de Wegen, Afstanden, enz. Opgesteld door Eman Bowen, Landbeschryver van zyn Britt. Majesteit Te Amsteldam, by Pieter Meijer Uitgegeren. Signature: L Schenk J Soon 1757. (AeOS).


1. 1757 Algemeene Oefenschoole van Konsten en Weetenschappen … Tweede Afdeeling; Eerste Deel 1      (E).
  Amsterdam. Pieter Meijer. 1763.  BL, P.

 [1] Literally Volume II, Part I. Some authors have been misled to think this was book one of two. There were three parts to this section but only the first two have the county maps. My thanks to Peter van der Krogt for help in translating titles.