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John Ogilby
portrait of a seventeenth-century gentleman with long hair
Portrait from a 1660 edition of Homer's Iliad
Born(1600-11-17)17 November 1600
Kirriemuir (Angus, Scotland)[1]
Died4 September 1676(1676-09-04) (aged 75)
London, England
Notable work

John Ogilby (also Ogelby, Oglivie; 17 November 1600 – 4 September 1676) was a Scottish translator, impresario, publisher and cartographer. He was probably at least a half-brother to James Ogilvy, 1st Earl of Airlie, though neither overtly acknowledged this. Ogilby's most-noted works include translations of the works of Virgil and Homer, and his version of the Fables of Aesop.

Ogilby established Ireland's first theatre in Werburgh Street, Dublin, and following the Restoration, that country's first Theatre Royal. Ogilby played a significant part in arrangements for the coronation of King Charles II. Following the Great Fire of 1666, Ogilby's large-scale map of the City of London was founded on precise survey work, and his Britannia is the first road atlas of England and Wales to be based on surveys and measurements, and drawn to scale.


Childhood and youth (1600–1618)

John Ogilby's birthplace and parentage are historically uncertain; most early biographies of Ogilby rely on the notes of his assistant John Aubrey that were made for Aubrey's Brief Lives, a collection of biographies of Ogilby and others.[2] The accuracy of Aubrey's account is questionable;[3] Aubrey noted Ogilby was evasive about his origins,[4] saying only he was born "near Edinburgh" in 1600 "of a gentleman's family".[5] Later scholarship has discovered in 1653, Ogilby consulted the noted astrologer Elias Ashmole,[6] and that Ashmole subsequently included Ogilby's horoscope in a personal collection of his horoscopes of notable people.[7] The horoscope required precise data; Ashmole gives the exact location of Ogilby's birth as "Killemeure" (Kirriemuir near Dundee[a][b]) and the exact date and time as 17 November 1600 at 04:00.[1]

Ogilby believed himself to be at least a half-brother to James Ogilvy, 1st Earl of Airlie,[9][c] given at birth to John Ogilby (senior), a well-off gentleman's tailor in Edinburgh, to be adopted.[9][d] He was most likely educated at the Merchant Taylors' grammar school in London.[13][e] At eleven years old, Ogilby was indentured as an apprentice to John Draper, one of just three licensed dance masters in London.[16] At the time, a dancing master had expertise in "grammar (elocution), rhetoric, logic, philosophy, history, music, mathematics and in other arts":[17] ability to dance in "Old Measures" was considered an essential skill for the upper classes.[18] In 1617, Draper became a barrister at Grey's Inn and released Ogilby, who by then was highly accomplished as a dancer and a teacher, from the apprenticeship, allowing him to set up as a master in his own right and to take part in theatrical performances.[19] A fall while dancing in a masque in February 1619 (aged 18), however, lamed him for life and ended his career as a dancer, though not as a teacher.[1]

Early adulthood (1619−1633)

Information about John Ogilby's early adulthood is limited. According to Ashmole's horoscope, in 1625, Ogilby suffered from a "double quotidian ague" – a form of malaria – [20] he most probably contracted while fighting in the Low Countries under Colonel Sir Charles Rich.[21] In May 1626, he is recorded as holding the rank of lieutenant in the army of Count Mansfield, subsequently becoming a prisoner of war in Dunkirk from July 1626 to June 1627.[22] From June to November 1627, Ogilby was one of the few survivors of the ill-fated English Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, returning to England as acting Captain of a supply ship.[23]

Ireland (1633−1646)

In August 1633, Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, the newly appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, invited Ogilby to Ireland to be dancing tutor to his wife and children, and a member of his troop of guards.[24][25] While in Dublin, Ogilby established Ireland's first theatre, the Werburgh Street Theatre.[26] In 1637, as a consequence of this enterprise and to discourage competitors, Wentworth appointed Ogilby Master of the Revels for Ireland, with power to permit and forbid performances.[27] The theatre remained open for four years; it had mixed success but it had to be closed as a result of the Irish Rebellion of 1641.[28] With theatre and dancing ruled out, Ogilby spent his time learning Latin and then translating the complete works of Virgil.[29]

Writer and publisher, marriage (1647−1660)

Ogilby returned to England in January 1647, being shipwrecked on his homeward journey.[30][31] The manuscript of his Virgil translation, which he had carefully placed in waterproof wrapping,[32] survived the incident and was published in October 1648 with the sponsorship of Royalist gentlefolk and nobility.[33]

In 1650, Ogilby married rich heiress Christian Hunsdon,[34] a widow in her sixties and about 17 years Ogilby's senior.[35] The following year, he published the first edition of his work The fables of Aesop paraphras'd in verse, and adorn'd with sculpture[f] and illustrated with annotations, which was illustrated by Francis Cleyn.[36][37] Ogilby's version of the text was very successful, running to five editions in the following 15 years.[38]

During the next few years, Ogilby learnt Greek with the intention of creating and publishing a new translation of Homer's Iliad; he planned it to be a magnificent undertaking with an estimated production cost of £5,000.[39][g] The venture required sponsorship to pay for the engraved illustrations, each of which would cost about £10,[h] but he secured only 47 sponsors. When the work published in March 1660, it had 600 pages but was substantially less illustrated than Ogilby had planned.[40] With his known Royalist sympathies,[41] Ogilby was a risk to potential patrons who needed to avoid offending the Puritan Commonwealth government.[42]

Restoration of the monarchy, the Great Fire and Royal Cosmographer (1661–1676)

Detail from Ogily and Morgan's "most accurate Survey of the City of London and Libertyes therof"

The Restoration of Charles II brought favour back to Ogilby. In 1661, he was granted the unpaid title "Master of the Royal Imprimerie" (King's Printer).[43] With Charles' coronation scheduled for 23 April 1661 – St. George's Day – the Common Council of the City of London contracted Ogilby to "compose speeches, songs and inscriptions" for the coronation procession from the Tower of London to Whitehall.[44]

A year later, Ogilby was again made Master of the Revels in Ireland,[45] and he started building a new theatre in Smock Alley, Dublin.[46] The libretto of Katherine Philips' musical play Pompey, which was performed at Smock Alley in 1663, credits Ogilby as the composer of the tunes.[47] His second sojourn in Ireland was short-lived; in July 1664, he returned to plague-stricken London, leaving his step-son to take his place.[48] In 1665, he published a second, revised edition of The Fables of Aesop, which was this time illustrated with prints by Wenceslaus Hollar.[37]

During the Great Fire of London in 1666, Ogilby's house in Shoe Lane, together with its printing works and most of his stock, was destroyed; he estimated he had lost £3,000.[49][i] After the Great Fire, the Corporation of London appointed Ogilby and his wife's grandson William Morgan as "sworn viewers", members of a group of four trustworthy gentlemen directed by Robert Hooke,[50] to plot disputed property in the city.[51] Ogilby later made what he called "the most accurate Survey of the City of London and Libertyes therof that has ever been done".[52] By 1668, he had a new house in Whitefriars, and was ready to resume his printing and publishing work.[53]

Ogilby's next major venture was a series of atlases of China, Japan, Africa, Asia and America. The first of these was An Embassy from the East India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham Emperor of China, which was published in 1689. This book was substantially a translation of Johan Nieuhof's Dutch publication of the same name with English copies of the Dutch engravings.[54] Ogilby's Africa appeared in 1670 and was followed in rapid succession by Atlas Japanennsis (1670), America (1671), Atlas Chinensis (1671) and Asia (1673).[55] In 1671, in response to his proposal to make a detailed survey and atlas of Great Britain, the King appointed Ogilby Royal Cosmographer.[56][j] Thus, at about the age of 70 and with the scientific advice of Robert Hooke,[58] Ogilby began work on Britannia, the project for which he is best known among cartographers.[59][60]


A surveyor's wheel in use (detail from the frontispiece of Britannia)

In 1675, Ogilby issued his atlas, which he titled Britannia, in the form of a strip map for each major route. The work contains 100 strip road maps that are accompanied by a double-sided page of text giving additional advice for the map's use, and notes on the towns shown and the pronunciations of their names.[61] The roads were measured using a surveyor's wheel, which Ogilby called his "way-wiser", and were plotted at one inch to the statute mile – a scale of 1:63,360 – an Ogilby innovation.[62] The maps include details such as the configurations of hills, bridges and ferries, and the relative sizes of towns.[61] Ogilby is noted in cartography for these innovations.[60]

The cost of the survey and the resulting maps is not known but in a prospectus, Ogilby quotes a preiminary estimate made by the "Lords Referees" – advisors to the Privy Council – as £14,000 (equivalent to about £2.9 million today).[63] Ogilby worked hard to raise this considerable sum by holding lotteries, and with assistance from Robert Hooke who made multiple petitions to the Crown, the Court of Common Council and Court of Aldermen of the Corporation of London and to noble families.[64] Writing in 1925, geographer Sir Herbert Fordham said:

twice only ... has there been such [measurement of roads]: that of John Ogilby, in 1671-5, and that of John Cary, quite at the end of the following century. In neither case, singularly enough, did the Government take any steps for the publication of the results of the survey, everything being left, in this respect, to private and commercial enterprise.[65]


Ogilby died in September 1676 and was buried in the vault of St Bride's Church, one of Sir Christopher Wren's new London churches.[66] In his will, dated 27 February 1675, Ogilby bequeathed his entire estate to "my deare wife Christian Ogilby and to William Morgan, her grandchild".[67] The value of his estate is not recorded but the British Museum has a copy of an announcement by Robert Morden, a factor, of a sale of "undisposed" books and maps from Ogilby's collection with an asserted value of £517.50 (equivalent to about £115,000 today).[68]

Literary reputation

In the years that followed his death, Ogilby's reputation as a poetic translator suffered from attacks made on him by John Dryden in his satirical work MacFlecknoe, and by Alexander Pope in The Dunciad. Following their lead, Scottish philosopher David Hume used Ogilby's work to illustrate the idea common sense frequently appeals to a "standard of taste" in aesthetic matters:

Whoever would assert an equality of genius and elegance between Ogilby and [John] Milton, or [John] Bunyan and [Joseph] Addison, would be thought to defend no less an extravagance, than if he had maintained a mole-hill to be as high as Teneriffe [sic], or a pond as extensive as the ocean.[69]

Other writers were even more critical; Ogilby's entry in the Encyclopaedia Londinensis (about 1800) reads:

The chief merit of his Homer consists in a commendable and uniform fidelity to the sense of his author. As a poet, his pretensions to praise of any kind can scarcely be supported: he has neither animation of thought, accuracy of taste, sensibility of feeling, nor ornament of diction.[70]

Such judgements stuck, and it is only since the mid-20th century that Ogilby's work has again been given scholarly attention, particularly his versions of Aesop's Fables.[71][72][73] These, according to a short biography published by Theophilus Cibber in 1753, were "generally confessed to have exceeded whatever hath been done before in that kind".[74] They renewed interest in the fable as a literary medium and arguably initiated suggestions of their adaptation to the troubled politics of the time.[75][76]



  1. ^ Kirriemuir is about twenty statute miles, eighteen Scottish miles and 32 kilometres north of Dundee and the nearest town – about 5 mi (8.0 km) north-west – to Airlie, the seat of the lairds of Airlie.
  2. ^ This is Ereira's supposition.[1] Van Eerde reads the location given on the horoscope as "Kellemeane" and is unable to identify any place of that or similar name on any maps of the time.[8]
  3. ^ In the second edition of Virgil, Ogilby signed himself as Johannes Ogilvius, with the Ogilvy coat-of-arms in a cartouche, charged with a heraldic star that indicated "younger son": the final plate of the book was dedicated to the Garter King of Arms, in effect (Alan Ereira says) to assert the validity of his use of the arms.[10] Neither Ereira nor Van Eerde, however, were able to find any evidence of an overt claim to direct family connection and Van Eerde strongly questions whether such a connection ever existed.[11] In 1625, John Ogilvie (1587 – 1625, second brother to the Earl) affirmed in his will he was "brother german" (full, unquestioned brother) of the future Earl, seemingly to distinguish himself from John Ogilby.[12]
  4. ^ There are no records of the circumstances of his fostering and adoption by John Ogilby (senior), at the time a well-to-do tailor in Edinburgh and distant kinsman to the noble Lord Ogilvie. Ereira suggests two possible reasons.[9] The first is his claimed father, Lord Ogilvie, had engaged in pitched battle with the neighbouring Lindsay clan and as a result was subjected to severe sanctions by the Privy Council of Scotland. This put the family in very difficult circumstances: the eldest son, the future Earl of Airlie, was sent to the continent; perhaps a foster family in Edinburgh was the safest place for a baby. The second is his mother Jean Ruthven may have conceived while her husband was engaged in battle with the Lindsays.
  5. ^ In 1606, the Ogilby family followed King James I and VI when the court transferred to London and Ogilby Sr was admitted to membership of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors.[14] This meant attendance of the school was his right. Ereira notes Ogilby's name does not appear on the school register but that this is not surprising because the register records only pupils taking an examination called the "probation".[15]
  6. ^ perspective illustrations
  7. ^ The modern equivalent of £5,000 in 1660 is about £900,000.
  8. ^ The modern equivalent of £10 in 1660 is about £2,000.
  9. ^ The modern equivalent of £3,000 in 1666 is about £600,000.
  10. ^ Parker gives 1674;[28] according to Ereira, this is the date when his title was upgraded to "His Majesty's Cosmographer and Royal Printer".[57]


  1. ^ a b c d Ereira (2016), pp. 50–52.
  2. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 5, 6.
  3. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 6.
  4. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 15.
  5. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 6, 7.
  6. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 164.
  7. ^ Ashmole, Elias (c. 1680), Ms. Ashm. 332, f.35°, cited in Ereira (2016), pp. 50{{subst:endash}}52
  8. ^ Van Eerde (1976), pp. 15, 16.
  9. ^ a b c Ereira (2016), pp. 150–161.
  10. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 152–155.
  11. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 16.
  12. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 157, 158.
  13. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 11–12.
  14. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 9–10.
  15. ^ Ereira (2016), page 420, footnote 11..
  16. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 32–33.
  17. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 36.
  18. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 40–41.
  19. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 42–43.
  20. ^ Josten, C H (1967). Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) : his autobiographical and historical notes, his correspondence, and other contemporary sources relating to his life and work. Vol. II. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 655. ISBN 9780191759932., cited in Ereira 2016, p. 64 Josten decoded Ashmole's cryptic notes.
  21. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 64.
  22. ^ State Papers Domestic 16 v. 66 (63), cited in Ereira 2016, p. 70
  23. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 72.
  24. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 76.
  25. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 20.
  26. ^ Fletcher, Alan J. (1999). Drama, Performance, and Polity in Pre-Cromwellian Ireland. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 261–264. ISBN 9780802043771.
  27. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 83.
  28. ^ a b Parker, Philip (25 October 2022). The Atlas of Atlases. Ivy Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780711268050. OCLC 1292066597.
  29. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 109, 111.
  30. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ogilby, John" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.(1646/7)
  31. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 119.
  32. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 121.
  33. ^ Ereira (2016), pp. 126, 167.
  34. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 27.
  35. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 141.
  36. ^ Lindner, Jennifer N. (2002). "From the Collection: Stylistic Influences and Design Sources: An Examination of Winterthur's Fox and the Crane Fireback". Winterthur Portfolio. 37: 74. doi:10.1086/376343. S2CID 142101773. A particularly elegant yet unusual example may be seen in an engraving by Francis Cleyn in John Ogilby's Fables of Aesop Paraphras'd in Verse and Adorned with Sculpture (fig. 9).
  37. ^ a b Dundas, Judith (1995). "The Masks of Cupid and Death". Comparative Drama. 29 (1, Spring): 48{{subst:endash}}49. doi:10.1353/cdr.1995.0038. JSTOR 41153732. S2CID 190303904. The illustration that accompanies the first edition of the Fables, by Francis Cleyn, shows a youth who prays with clasped hands to Cupid in the sky (fig. 3).
  38. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 143.
  39. ^ Clapp, Sarah (May 1933). "The subscription enterprises of John Ogilby and Richard Blome". Modern Philology. 30 (4): 365{{subst:endash}}379. doi:10.1086/388058. S2CID 161593172.
  40. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 184.
  41. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 43.
  42. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 183.
  43. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 64, 91.
  44. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 49.
  45. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 65.
  46. ^ "Research Guide for Archival Sources of Smock Alley theatre, Dublin" (PDF). Smock Alley Theatre. October 2009.
  47. ^ Boydell, Brian (2001). "John Ogilby". In Sadie, Stanley; Tyrrell, John (eds.). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56159-239-5.
  48. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 226.
  49. ^ Ogilby, John (1670). Africa. cited in Ereira (2016), p. 245
  50. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 247.
  51. ^ Fordham (1925), p. 159.
  52. ^ Hyde, R.; Fisher, John; Cline, Roger (1992). The A to Z of Restoration London. London Topographical Society. p. x. ISBN 9780902087323. cited in Ereira (2016), p. 247
  53. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 124.
  54. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 254.
  55. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 260.
  56. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 310 "He received a letter from the King on 24 August [1671] addressing him by the novel title of 'Royal Cosmographer'".
  57. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 374.
  58. ^ Van Eerde (1976), pp. 126, 127.
  59. ^ Fordham (1925), p. 1.
  60. ^ a b Mary Sponberg Pedley; Matthew H. Edney, eds. (15 May 2020). "Ogilby, John". The History of Cartography. Vol. 4: Cartography in the European Enlightenment. University of Chicago Press. p. 1071. ISBN 9780226339221.
  61. ^ a b Fordham (1925), p. 164–166.
  62. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 346 "These pages established the 8-furlong mile as the national unit of distance and the one-inch-to-a-mile mapping standard, which was used by the British Ordnance Survey until the 1970s"..
  63. ^ Ereira (2016), p. 349.
  64. ^ Van Eerde (1976), pp. 130–134.
  65. ^ Fordham (1925), p. 157.
  66. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 139.
  67. ^ Van Eerde (1976), p. 137.
  68. ^ "Proposals for the last general sale of Mr Ogibly's Books, Maps and Roads &c". British Museum. 1691. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  69. ^ Hume, David (1757). "Of the Standard of Taste". Four Dissertations (1st ed.). London: A. Millar in the Strand.
  70. ^ Chapman, John; Jones, G.; Jones, John; Pass, J.; Wilkes, John (eds.). "O'Gilby, John". Encyclopaedia Londinensis or, Universal dictionary of arts, sciences, and literature. Vol. 17. p. 430.
  71. ^ Eames, Marion (1961). "John Ogilby and his Aesop". Bulletin of the New York Public Library. 65: 73–88.
  72. ^ Patterson, Annabel M. (1991). Fables of Power: Aesopian Writing and Political History. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
  73. ^ Acheson, Katherine (2009). "The Picture of Nature: Seventeenth-Century English Aesop's Fables". Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies. IX (2, Fall/Winter): 25–50. doi:10.1353/jem.0.0032. S2CID 159954541.
  74. ^ Shiells, Robert (1753). The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, to the Time of Dean Swift. Vol. 2. London: R. Griffiths. p. 268.
  75. ^ Williamson, Karina (1997). "The English Fable: Aesop and Literary Culture, 1651-1740 by Jayne Elizabeth Lewis". Translation and Literature. 6 (2). Edinburgh University Press: 244{{subst:endash}}249. doi:10.3366/tal.1997.6.2.244. JSTOR 40316860. (book review)
  76. ^ Daniel, Stephen H. (Spring 1982). "Political and Philosophical Uses of Fables in Eighteenth-Century England". The Eighteenth Century. 23 (2). University of Pennsylvania Press: 151{{subst:endash}}171. JSTOR 41467265. Occasional authors such as John Ogilby published Aesopic fables (in 1651 and again in 1667) with what might be recognized as political motives; however, the applications of such fables are questionable and, in any event, do not approximate to the developed political positions found in later collections.

Principal sources

See also

Further reading

External links

6 Annotations

First Reading

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Though Ogilvy was one of the worst poets of his time, he was without a rival in point of industry. This virtue alone, if he had had no other merit, would entitle him to some respect. He began to study at an age when men usually think of leaving off all literary pursuits; and quickly made an astonishing progress. He could scarce construe Virgil, when he entered upon a translation of that poet; and he was no less eager to translate Homer, though he was far from being a competent master of English or Greek. That he had no success in these great attempts is not to be admired; the attempts themselves are matter of admiration. I shall pass over his "Esop's Fables," and several other folios which he published, to mention his "Carolies," an heroic poem, in twelve books, in honour of Charles I. on which he had been long labouring. This, which he tells us, he had "resolved to be the pride, divertisement, business, and sole comfort of his age," was burnt in the fire of London. His fortune was reduced, by that conflagration, to 5 1. only; but he, in a few years, retrieved his loss, by undertaking and finishing several voluminous works. His last and greatest undertaking was his "Atlas," which was alone a sufficient task for a man's life. Three or four volumes, in folio, have been published of this work, which he did not live to finish. It is well known that he was employed by Charles II. to take a survey of the roads of the kingdom; and I have been informed, that the posts were regulated according to that survey. Ob. 4 Sept. 1676.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.

Bill  •  Link

OGILBY, JOHN (1600-1676) author and printer; in early life taught dancing; employed by Strafford in Ireland, where he became deputy-master, and afterwards master of the revels; entrusted with 'poetical part' of Charles II's coronation, 1661; his house and booksellers' stock destroyed in fire of Loudon, 1666; afterwards set up large printing establishment and became 'king's cosmographer'; published verse translations of Virgil, AEsop's 'Fables,' and Homer, with plates by Hollar, and printed an edition of the bible (Cambridge, 1660), a folio Virgil, 'Entertainment of Charles II,' and many geographical works. He was ridiculed by Dryden and Pope, but utilised by the latter.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Terry Jones’ Great Map Mystery" is four excellent investigations into some of the Welsh maps included in John Ogilby's BRITANNIA of 1675 and was, for me, an eye opener as to what Charles II is concluding from the shenanigans of the 1660's.

At school I learned Ogilby employed hundreds of people using the first mileage calculators to measure 20,000 miles of "British" roads (think mostly tracks). Previous maps were measured in one day's journey by coach or horseback, so visitors knew where they would be sleeping. As Pepys tells us, those old maps were not easy to follow, and the "roads" were rough. You'll see how rough in these shows.

This enormous book cost the equivilent of tens of millions of pounds today, but was sponsored by Charles II who went to great lengths to make sure rich people bought it, and he even used them as prizes for lotteries, although it rarely showed how to get to those rich peoples' houses or anything particularly useful they didn't already know.

It's fascinating ... and I won't spoil Terry Jones' big reveal at the end of why Charles wanted this information so badly. It's outside the Diary times anyways.

The shows are available free on BritBox in the USA right now ... poke around; you'll find them. They are too esoteric for pay TV.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"They are too esoteric for pay TV." I was wrong. I understand they are on Apple TV now.

I found a biography of John Ogibly, and have excerpted what he was doing during the Diary years:

John Ogilby turned his attention to the Latin classics, as a translator and publisher. His first attempt in 1649 was a translation of the works of Virgil, but after his marriage to a wealthy widow the same year, his publishing activities received a boost.

One way John Ogilby financed these volumes was by advanced subscriptions from patrons, in return for including their name and coats-of-arms on the illustrations. As the prestige of his books increased, so did the number of subscribers.
Another way was to secure a patron, preferably in the court circle. ...
In 1661, John Ogilby was sufficiently in favor to be asjed to write poetry for Charles II’s coronation procession; he later published ‘The Relation of His Majesties Entertainment Passing Through the City of London’, and a much enlarged edition in 1662, which included a set of plates depicting the procession.

In 1665, Ogilby left London to avoid the Plague. This was a minor disruption compared to the disaster he suffered in 1666.

In the Great Fire of London, Ogilby claimed that he lost his entire stock of books valued at some £3,000, as well as his shop and house, leaving him worth just £5. On another occasion, he said he lost two-thirds of his stock, which may be more accurate.

To restore his fortunes, John Ogilby seized an appointment as a “sworn viewer”, whose duty was to establish the property boundaries as they existed before the Fire.
Ogilby was assisted in this by his step-grandson, William Morgan, and by several professional surveyors.
The result was an outstanding plan of London, on a scale of 100 ft to an inch, on 20 sheets, which was printed after Ogilby’s death.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


John Ogilby saw the mercantile ambition of Restoration England, and exploited the potential by publishing geographical descriptions of the wider world.
In 1667, he issued ‘An Embassy from the East India Company of the United Provinces to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperor of China.’ This was translated from the original Dutch text, and illustrated using the original Dutch views and plates.
Pleased by the response, Ogilby conceived a multi-volume description of the world, a project he described in May 1669: “Africa, though not the remotest, yet furthest from our Acquaintance, the Author intends to be the First Volumn. America, being the next least known, the Second. Asia according to the same order, the Third. Europe, that hath been most Surveyed, of which much is to be said that hath not yet been Collected by any English Author, he designs to be his Fourth and Fifth Volumn; the last, but not the least in our Concerns, will onely contain the Business of Great Britain.”

The volumes were joint collaborations with the Dutch publisher Jacob van Meurs.
‘Africa’, published in 1670, was the least original, both in terms of the text, maps and illustrations.
The ‘Atlas Japannensis’ (1670), the ‘Atlas Chinensis’ (1671), and ‘Asia’ (1673) followed.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.