England and Wales antique map showing the fifty-two English and Welsh counties. Steel engraved antique map published c.1845, in Thomas Dugdale’s, ‘Curiosities of Great Britain. England and Wales Delineated…,’ engraved by Joshua Archer.
Joshua Archer was an engraver of maps. In the early 1840’s he engraved a set of maps for Thomas Dugdale’s “Curiosities of Great Britain. England and Wales Delineated, Historical, Entertaining and Commercial. Alphabetically Arranged by Thomas Dugdale, Antiquarian. Assisted by William Burnett, Civil Engineer.” First published c.1845, Dugdale accompanied the maps with topographical steel engravings of places of interest in each county.
Steel engraving is a technique for printing illustrations based on steel instead of copper. It has been rarely used in artistic printmaking, although it was much used for reproductions in the 19th century. Steel engraving was introduced in 1792 by Jacob Perkins (1766–1849), an American inventor, for banknote printing. When Perkins moved to London in 1818, the technique was adapted in 1820 by Charles Warren and especially by Charles Heath (1785–1848) for Thomas Campbell‘s Pleasures of Hope, which contained the first published plates engraved on steel. The new technique only partially replaced the other commercial techniques of that time such as woodcut, wood engraving, copper engraving and later lithography. All the illustrations in the Encyclopædia Britannica of 1911 are steel engravings.