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1766 Bowen Map of Poland and Lithuania

A New and Accurate Map of Poland, Lithuania etc. Divided into its Palatinats. - Main View

1766 Bowen Map of Poland and Lithuania


The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Prior to Partition.


A New and Accurate Map of Poland, Lithuania etc. Divided into its Palatinats.
  1747 (undated)     14.5 x 18 in (36.83 x 45.72 cm)     1 : 3050000


This is a beautiful 1766 map of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, by the British cartographer Emanuel Bowen. It depicts the Palatinates, or administrative divisions of Poland and Lithuania as well as parts of adjacent Germany, the Russian Empire, Hungary, Transylvania, and Latvia. Important towns, rivers, roads, cities and other topographic features are noted, with mountains rendered in profile and forests shown pictorially. A beautifully illustrated title cartouche embellishes the lower left corner - with a ruined tower in the background, perhaps an allusion to the ravages of the wars that wracked the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth more or less constantly from 1648 to 1720.
Corrections to the Plate
This example was include in the 1766 edition of the Bowen Atlas. It is distinguishable from the 1747/52 edition by the changed pagination (noted below) and by two changes in the body of the map: in 'Upper or Little Poland,' the place name 'Sandomir' is corrected to 'Sandomiria,' and the Western Dvina River has been corrected from 'Duna' to 'Dvina.' (This river is now known as the Daugava.)
Publication History and Census
This map was prepared by Emanuel Bowen as plate No. 29 for the 1747 edition of A Complete System of Geography and remained in the work unchanged in 1752. It was included in the 1766 edition as plate No. 20, appearing with the content changes noted above. Bowen's A Complete System of Geography is well-represented in institutional collections.


Emanuel Bowen (1694 - May 8, 1767) had the high distinction to be named Royal Mapmaker to both to King George II of England and Louis XV of France. Bowen was born in Talley, Carmarthen, Wales, to a distinguished but not noble family. He apprenticed to Charles Price, Merchant Taylor, from 1709. He was admitted to the Merchant Taylors Livery Company on October 3, 1716, but had been active in London from about 1714. A early as 1726 he was noted as one of the leading London engravers. Bowen is highly regarded for producing some of the largest, most detailed, most accurate and most attractive maps of his era. He is known to have worked with most British cartographic figures of the period including Herman Moll and John Owen. Among his multiple apprentices, the most notable were Thomas Kitchin, Thomas Jeffreys, and John Lodge. Another apprentice, John Oakman (1748 - 1793) who had an affair with and eventually married, Bowen's daughter. Other Bowen apprentices include Thomas Buss, John Pryer, Samuel Lyne, his son Thomas Bowen, and William Fowler. Despite achieving peer respect, renown, and royal patronage, Bowen, like many cartographers, died in poverty. Upon Emanuel Bowen's death, his cartographic work was taken over by his son, Thomas Bowen (1733 - 1790) who also died in poverty. More by this mapmaker...


Bowen, E., A Complete System of Geography. Being a description of all the countries, islands, cities, chief towns, harbours, lakes, and rivers, mountains, mines, etc., of the known world …, (London) 1766.    


Very good. Minor wear and toning along original fold lines. Dampstains along outer margin, not extending onto printed area. Minor offsetting. Blank on verso.


Rumsey 3733.028. Philips (atlases) 614 (1752 edition). Malinowsky, H. Map Collectors' Circle, No. 25, #40 M 97.