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William Faden (1749-1836)

"[by the early 1790's] Faden built up by far the best and largest stock of large scale maps to be had in the British Isles–far more extensive than his contemporaries–certainly [Robert] Sayer, and even John Cary and Aaron Arrowsmith."[1][L. Worms, "The Maturing of British Commercial Cartography: William Faden (1749-1836) and the Map Trade,"The Cartographic Journal 41.1 (2004): 5-11. This article published the transcript of Laurence Worms's September 2003 Helen Wallis Memorial Lecture, given for the joint British Cartographic Society and Society of Cartographers conference "Cartography 2003."This specific comment was made on p. 10 of the article. I have relied heavily on the writings of Laurence Worms and Mary Pedley (see below) for this short essay.]

How did William Faden come to deserve such distinction? To better understand the assertion, one needs to understand the history and evolution of the early London map trade.[2][Sarah Tyacke, London Map Sellers, 1660-1720 (Tring: Map Collector Publications, 1978). This general review of the subject predates the era of William Faden.] The dominant figure in the early eighteenth-century London map trade – before Faden gained prominence at the end of the eighteenth century – was Herman Moll.[3][Worms, 5. D. Reinhartz, "Moll, Herman (1654?–1732),"Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (Jan. 2008), http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/18912. D. Reinhartz, The Cartographer and the Literati: Herman Moll and His Intellectual Circle (Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1997), 27-56 and 149-156.] Some of this was by default; many of his contemporaries and peers had died: Joseph Moxon in 1691, William Fisher in 1692, John Seller in 1697, Philip Lea in 1700, Robert Morden in 1704, and John Thornton in 1708.[4][Worms, 5. Also see the various descriptive entries in J. French and V. Scott, ed., .Tooley's Dictionary of Mapmakers, rev. ed., (Tring: Map Collector Publications (for vol. A-D); Riverside: Early World Press (for vols. E-J, K-P, and Q-Z), 1999-2004).] These people depended on the manufacture and sale of maps for their primary livelihood and, at least at some level, might be considered cartographers. This would exclude certain mapsellers, such as the Bowles and Overton families, who had significant wholesale and retail businesses but were not really mapmakers. They were, rather, in the habit of reprinting existing maps.

Moll was a fierce business competitor, even to the point of publicly denigrating some of the young and upcoming mapmakers and sellers such as Charles Price and John Senex. In addition to his aggressive business tactics, Moll was also heavily involved in pushing British interests, in opposition to the French, in North America.[5][Reinhartz, 113-148.] Moll never produced a map of a single English county based on an original survey. He deferred to older authority, something that was being challenged during the early European Enlightenment and British Industrial Revolution.[6][Worms, 6.] The evolving science of mapmaking overran those older practices, resulting not only in the rise of Price and Senex, but also Emanual Bowen.

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