An Accurate Map of the County of Kent
About the work
Emanuel Bowen’s coloured engraving depicts a detailed map of the county of Kent. In the lower left corner the map is decorated with images of the produce of Kent and two figures are shown harvesting or tending vegetables.
The earliest maps, principally navigation charts, were made in Europe from the eleventh century. As maritime trade expanded in the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe, the production of maps, their technical accuracy and the scientific instruments used to survey the land all became more developed. By the 16th century, many areas of northern Europe, including England, were represented as maps. Initially, a map’s cartouche contained only the title. However, by the late 17th century it had developed into a grander artistic device and a minor art form in itself.
This map is one of 20 similar 18th-century maps, drawn by Emanuel Bowen, which were acquired by the Government Art Collection in 1949. Each depicts a different county of England.
About the artist
Emanuel Bowen was born in South Wales. He began his career as an apprentice to globe and instrument maker Charles Price. During his apprenticeship, he engraved maps for an ‘Atlas of the World’ (1717). In 1729 he produced his own ‘New and Accurate Map of South Wales’ and five topographical views of Welsh towns. He later drew 70 maps for his ‘Complete System of Geography’ (1744-47) and made a set of county maps for the ‘Large English Atlas’ (1760), in collaboration with map-maker Thomas Kitchen. Despite achieving the distinction of becoming geographer to George II in around 1747, Bowen’s obituary of 1767 stated that he died in ‘reduced circumstances’ - the result of ‘family extravagances’. His son, Thomas, was also an engraver and map-maker.
- An Accurate Map of the County of Kent
- Coloured engraving
- Purchased from Francis Edwards, November 1949
- GAC number